Aussie PRO Cyclists Set to Take on The Tour This Week…
Fourteen of Australia’s best cyclists will take to the roads of Italy on Friday to begin a 915 km long ten day tour.
Friday not Saturday.. Italy not France.. 915 not 3642km you might be asking? Have I got my days, countries and km’s confused?
I’m not talking the Evans, Lloyd, O’Grady or Rogers type but rather the professional variety of a different gender; Gilmore, Ryan, Whitelaw, and O’donnell…
Our Aussie female road cyclists.
Who would have thought!
The 2010 Giro Donne, otherwise known as the Women’s Giro D’Italia, commences on Friday with a record fourteen Australian women representing various professional teams along with the 8 rider strong AIS / National team (Kirsty Broun, Tiffany Cromwell, Shara Gillow, Lisa Jacobs, Lauren Kitchen, Emma Mackie and Carlee Taylor).
The tour winds its way across northern Italy from Trieste through a remarkably tough series of stages including the iconic ‘Passo Stelvio’. The Giro Donne has never climbed so high, up to 2725 metres, the Stelvio will be the last major climb of the race before the final stage around the Monza motor racing circuit on July 11.
At any one time our fleet of Aussie female cyclists racing abroad include doctors, lawyers physiotherapists, podiatrists, massage therapists, budding journalists and a swag full of future honor students, religiously studying between races with their text books in tow.
More often than not these women come to the sport later in life as in my case – after education, careers and even motherhood, and make the decision to spend years away from potential careers, family and risk financial instability.
Most of you wouldn’t realise our Aussie women’s road cycling champion is a humble quiet achiever. Ruth Corset form Townsville, is 33 years of age and a mother of two!
The good news is that Aussie women’s cycling is on the improve. Especially since the inception of the Australian Sports Commission’s National Talent ID Program. However the Aussie Women’s National / AIS team is currently operating without a sponsor, with little funding and still competing at the pinicle of the sport.
To rise and meet an international standard as a cyclist requires a yearly 7 month stint combined of UCI races throughout Europe and / or North America. These long embarkments are necessary to elevate essential race experience. Fundamentally the early stages of one’s cycling career are often unpaid requiring frequent dipping into the life savings account.
The global entities offering to splay logos across rider’s lycra outfits are few and far between. Hence there are no houses in Monaco, business class airfares or celebrity status involved in our cycling world!
To give you an idea.. the numbers that make the wheels turn were recently pointed out by Aussie Cyclist Chole Hosking in an article published in Bicycling Australia earlier this year. ”Consider this; the rumored $AUD50 million budget of David Brailsford’s British dream team, Team Sky, is enough to sponsor a maior women’s team 60 times over”
At this level of cycling it is never just a job its a life choice and a want that is completely driven by passion. It’s a quest for sporting glory and ultimately to wear the green and gold at the World Championships and Olympic Games. I know I go to sleep at night dreaming of standing on top of podiums in Green and Gold.
While the men are battling the mountains of France and you are battling that 8am meeting after staying up half the night watching SBS, stop and think about the girls going just as deep and just as hard in Italy at the Giro Donne.
So when you’re checking up on the cycling news results during the TDF, scroll a little further down and check up on how our Aussie women are going.
I hope you are pleasantly surprised.