Life doesn’t slow down for CANYON//SRAM racer Tiffany Cromwell when she steps off the bike. Whether she’s enjoying some retail therapy on the Côte d’Azur, crafting a healthy gourmet dinner, or getting dressed up for a Monaco soirée, a day in the life of this Aussie road-ripper is never a bore. And cycling is the perfect outlet for her seemingly boundless energy.
“I’ve been told I was a bit of a wild child and could never sit still. I’d be up in the middle of the night jumping off the walls,” she says. “But I don’t think you can be a chilled out person to be a pro bike rider – you need that anger.”
An important figure in promoting women’s cycling, the dynamic 28-year-old has a profile that cuts deeper than most riders. With more than 40,000 Instagram followers giving their hearts to her selfies and ‘superwoman’ poses, ‘Tiff’ is the sport’s original emoji queen.
“Social media is one of those things that has given us a platform in a sport that, realistically, is a minority one,” she says. “To use it to get out there and connect with the fans, as well as document my travels around the world, is why I love it so much.”
First and foremost, however, Cromwell is a bike racer. A sprint stage victory at the 2016 Giro Rosa (the closest race that the women’s peloton has to the Tour de France) is her most notable recent success, although she has also won the cobbled Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2013. Along with home race the Santos Women’s Tour, she likes these tough one-dayers the best: “I love Strade Bianche, because it’s so picturesque,” she says. “The Belgian Classics are just hard, and don’t get me wrong, I love them, but Strade is brutally hard and beautiful. Of course I also love Flanders: the atmosphere, the prestige, the people, everything about it really.”
Cromwell was picked up by a talent programme as a sporty teenager in Adelaide, and first honed her bike handling skills and engine as a track cyclist before the road won her over. Growing up riding in the Adelaide Hills, her early-career climbing prowess has broadened over time, and she considers herself “more of an all-rounder these days”.
She has become a key member of the CANYON//SRAM team thanks to a natural ability to read races and her technical skills, particularly on descents. Masterful at race positioning and possessing a handy sprint, she has proved to be an ideal lead-out woman or backup in the gallop for the line.
Another ‘tactic’ that Tiff employs is style on the bike (she studied fashion and maintains a keen interest in design) and just as the cycling writer Paul Fournel once wrote that “to look good is to already go fast”, Cromwell abides by a similar motto: “Even if you’re not riding well, as long as you look good then people will think you’re just having a bad day,” she says. “But if you look bad, and you’re riding badly, people will think you’re just bad. I want us [CANYON//SRAM] to have a style that says, ‘this is what we’re all about: we mean business so don’t mess with us!’”
Rapha will be profiling all ten CANYON//SRAM racers throughout the 2017 season. Visit the team’s homepage to view all of the content.