Canyon-SRAM has signed a two-year extension with Tiffany Cromwell in a deal that will take the 33-year-old through 2023, carrying her career beyond next season which was her originally anticipated retirement date.
The experienced Australian, who has won two stages of the Giro d’Italia Donne, has been part of the team since it started in 2016, with the renewal taking her tenure with the squad into a seventh and eighth year.
“I’ve been working with Ronny (Lauke) and some of the team staff even longer than 2016. Obviously, there’s something there that is keeping us together. For me, we’re a weird kind of multi-nationality family that has a special bond. It’s a team where I feel comfortable to be myself and a team I’ve grown with as a person,” said Cromwell, who points to several reasons why she has continued with the team.
“Initially I struggled to take on the team captain role but now I embrace it. I enjoy being able to share my knowledge and experience with the team, especially the younger riders. To guide and help them avoid making some of the same mistakes I did as a younger rider.
Cromwell is often both the on-road captain and a support rider at Canyon-SRAM. This year she had a standout season with strong support performances during the Spring Classics and she also secured a long-sought spot on the Australian team at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“There are many positives I can take away from my 2021 season. I performed strongly in many races, was a teammate that could be relied upon consistently, regained my climbing strength, and finally achieved a career goal of competing at the Olympics for Australia. My season’s been extremely satisfying,” Cromwell said.
“My personal results sheet doesn’t paint the whole picture. No podiums or victories on the road and only a couple of top 10s. But I was happy to be back racing at the front of many of the hardest races, often being the last support rider for our leader.”
In an interview with Cyclingnews ahead of the Olympic Games, Cromwell attributed her success this season to feeling settled, handling pressure well, incorporating gravel racing into her calendar and feeling valued at her team. A sense that the team is her “best fit” clearly remains.
“Then, the team has always been great in supporting me as an individual, putting the hard words on me when they’ve seen I was distracted and drifting off,” said Cromwell in the media statement on her extension. “But at the same time, giving freedom and flexibility to allow my personality to be the way it is. It’s a team that understands me and one that I enjoy being a part of and feels like the best fit the ticks all the right boxes.”
Cromwell also said the team’s long-term diversity and inclusion program, headed by Christine Kalkschmid, and the addition of a new Continental Team helped in her decision to renew for the next two seasons.
“The team has tackled its D&I program head-on. After the first few sessions of training, I think many of us realised we have a lot to learn about the current issues facing the world. From things like learning about more inclusive language to learning more about each team member and how to use our different personalities and skills to work better together,” Cromwell said.
“Creating a development Conti team is huge for women’s cycling. There is such a large jump from juniors to the elite and World Tour ranks, and this will help. But even more so, the team believes it will help riders who have far more challenging pathways to try and enter the world of professional cycling. Riders from smaller or non-dominant cycling nations and riders from countries that have no pathway to get to Europe to race will have now an opportunity to race over here. I love that the team is helping create these new pathways and I hope other teams follow too.”
Cromwell said she initially planned to retire at the end of the 2022 season, which culminates with a home-nation UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong. However, with a contract extension through to 2023 and the next Olympic Games in 2024 she has changed her mind and is yet to make a final decision on a new retirement date.
“Part of me thinks if I go that far I could aim for the 2024 Paris Olympics. At the end of the day, as long as I’m still enjoying the sport and a team wants me then I’ll keep doing it. The moment I stop enjoying is the moment to stop. Now, I feel strong, I enjoy my work and I am passionate about getting results. So let’s see.”
Cromwell also confirmed that she will continue racing gravel in 2022 and that she aims to compete in the Spring Classics, Paris-Roubaix Femmes, Tour de France Femmes, Commonwealth Game and the Road World Championships.