Liv AlUla Jayco made no secret of wanting a good result at the Santos Tour Down Under. The Aussie team started off its home tour with great intent, too, dominating the first intermediate sprint of the race and claiming three bonus seconds for new Aussie champ, Ruby Roseman-Gannon.
In the end, the team probably didn’t achieve the results it wanted from the three-stage WorldTour race, as AG Insurance-Soudal won two stages and the overall and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Suez) took the other stage.
A day after the race concluded, Escape spoke with Ruby Roseman-Gannon at the Liv AlUla Jayco / Jayco AlUla team launch in Adelaide. There she gave her analysis of the team’s performance at Tour Down Under, looked ahead to the remainder of the Aussie summer races, and shared her early thoughts on life as Aussie champion.
Matt de Neef: How do you reflect on the past three days for yourself and for the team?
Ruby Roseman-Gannon: We had high expectations of ourselves. We aimed high. And I think we got close, but maybe not the dream Tour Down Under.
We still hit a second on the first stage, which was really good and a really good team effort. On the second stage we just came from too far back in that sprint so that was a bit disappointing. But we also expected it to be a bit harder than it was, to be honest. It really only split on that final climb to the finish.
And then the final stage – I was with the second group until like 500 meters to go. So that was painful. Mentally and physically I was like fully done when I finished. But I did my second-best all-time 10-minute power so there’s only so much you can do I think in that sort of scenario. I have to just be happy that I went full gas and didn’t have the legs. In the end it was just a bit too much, probably.
But yeah, overall, Ella [Wyllie]’s riding really, really well. She fits in really well into the team. And I think she’s got a huge future ahead of her, just being so young. So yeah, I think it’s motivating for the future.
On the Willunga stage did it go the way you thought it would? Did you think Sarah Gigante would get away as comfortably as she seemed to?
I think it’s really easy to underestimate Sarah. But knowing her so well, a lot of our team discussions were talking about Sarah. I’ve raced her up Willunga before and the same thing happened so I knew that it was highly unlikely that I would personally be able to follow her. But I wasn’t sure with like, Cecilie.
I think give Ella some time and I think she could be there. And it was a really strong ride from Neve [Bradbury] as well. Because I think last time we did Willunga Neve was with me. And then this time, she has really, really stepped up.
So I think the future is really bright for Australian cycling, having such promising riders coming through.
What are you expecting from the Tour Down Under criterium you’re doing in a few days, and from Cadel’s Race in a couple weeks?
I think the crit will be a good hit-out and another opportunity to hopefully practice the lead-out because I think you can never practice them too much. It’s really, really difficult to get that right. You go too early and you’ll drop off your sprinter with too much time, but then you can get so easily stuck behind all the mess.
And then Cadel’s – it’s a special race for me, because it feels like a home race. And it’s a race I really also want to win. I’ve thought about it a long time. I’m pretty motivated to come into that race and give it a real crack.
Do you think it’s a race you can win?
I think the double repeat of Challambra [Crescent] is quite a challenging climb. It’s so steep, it really suits a punchy rider that’s probably a little bit more [of a] climber type. But I think the way that it doesn’t finish on the top, and there’s that 7 km run into the finish, it does become like a numbers game, a tactical game.
I think that’s what makes it such an exciting race and it really opens the possibility that anyone can win. So yeah, I think it’s possible and I think we have a really strong team.
It’s been a week since you won your national title. Have you had a chance to think about what it means to you, as you head over to Europe? Does it change the way you’re going to approach racing, how you think about yourself in the team, and in the bunch?
The funny thing is, I always dreamed about winning. Like I actually had a dream that I won. And I would think about that a lot. But I never really thought about what would happen afterwards because usually when you win any other race, I don’t know, it’s like you just move on to the next one, and that’s the way I thought.
But I guess having Tour Down Under so close, it’s been a little bit overwhelming, to be honest. Even on the first day, I was really organised but then instead of just getting ready normally it was like, “OK, this person wants to speak to you”, and photos, and even just like the fans.
I don’t know. I personally don’t feel any different but I feel like more people know who I am now. I kind of like not being in the limelight. I like being a little bit like, the underdog or in the background. But no, it’s a real honor and privilege and yeah, going to Europe in the Australian jersey is amazing. So I’m really, really excited for that.
Do you think it will draw more attention to you over in Europe? Or do you think it’s particularly here that it becomes more of an issue?
I think it’s particularly here. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily an issue, it’s just kind of like a consequence that I didn’t really consider. It wasn’t something that I was thinking about. It was just kind of like, “Oh, now I’m here. And this is what happens.”
But I think in Europe, I’m still quite a small fish … I think in Europe, it’s like, well, there’s a world champion, there’s a European champion, there’s a Belgian champion, there’s a Dutch champion. So I think the limelight will definitely be completely off me. So that’s nice.
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