Women Who Cycle: CHLOE HOSKING LIVING THE CYCLING DREAM
I was interviewed by Nicola from Women Who Cycle last week. Her article offers a good insight into what I’ve been up to and what I have coming up. I’ve posted a few quotes to bring her piece to life.
Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Aussie pro cyclist Chloe Hosking over the phone. Chloe has returned home to Canberra for the summer season where her training program continues, as well as her university studies in communication.
Chloe has just completed two pretty successful years with Norwegian team Hitec. Her 2014 season began with a stage victory at the Mitchelton Bay Crits, and continued with impressive results in Europe including the EPZ Omloop van Borsele and a stage of the Lotto-Belisol Belgium Tour.
But despite her successes Hitec told her that they wouldn’t be renewing her contract for 2015. Chloe wasn’t too disappointed because she says she was ready to move but when discussions with Orica-AIS fell over at the final hurdle she was feeling a little anxious about her future. She made contact with a number of teams and found a great fit with Wiggle Honda where she’s signed up for the 2015 season. There she’ll be reunited with her friends Elisa Longo Borghini and Audrey Cordon and will enjoy racing again with Emilia Fahlin.
“My discussion with Orica-AIS got pretty far along and it was definitely a blow when I got the email saying there wasn’t a spot for me. But in the end I’m really happy with my decision to race with Wiggle-Honda for 2015.
I’ve got a great race program really suited to my strengths and I’m looking forward to trying to get back to the level I was on in 2012 and 2013.”
She’s also excited at the prospect of racing in the same team as Georgia Bronzini who is known for her great leadership out on the road. As well as her new team mates she’ll still be keeping in regular contact with her mentor and former teammate Ina-Yoko Teutenberg.
One thing I’ve admired about Chloe is her outspokenness. She famously called the then UCI President Pat McQuaid ‘a dick’ in January 2012 in reference to his comments, when he said that women’s cycling has “not developed enough” to warrant a minimum wage. As I’m a former media advisor to some of Australia’s largest companies I suppose I should be suggesting to Chloe that she needs to sanitise her comments in future, but I actually admire what she’s achieved. As Chloe said it was the first time she remembers women’s sport of any kind hogging the number one spot of the SMH’s sports page.
“It’s not something I’m particularly proud of but it did generate conversation. I’ve been told by a lot of the girls who have since gone through the Australian national team program that I’m always used as the ‘what not to do’ example.
“I definitely learnt a lot very quickly over that period in January 2012. But despite all that I’m still of the opinion that there is a big difference to being media trained and just being boring.”
Chloe attributes her outspoken nature to the Australian habit of being somewhat blunt. She works on the theory that she speaks to others the way she’d like them to speak to her, and sometimes that backfires, but mostly it serves her well. I know I enjoyed reading her blog post about the Commonwealth Games and dealing with disappointment. She really wears her heart on her sleeve.
“I think racing the first years of my career with Ina and other really strong personalities also had a impact. I always knew where I stood with Ina. If she didn’t think I was working hard enough she would always tell me and while maybe I didn’t like hearing it so much when I was 19, 20, 21, I know it has really helped my work and training ethic in the past few years. One thing I learnt when racing with HTC and the various incarnations of the team is to never make excuses.”
In 2015 Chloe will begin her year at the Bay Crits in her new Wiggle Honda colours. The Bay Crits is a race she enjoys and she won Stage 2 there earlier this year. This will be followed shortly by the National Road Championships in Victoria but it’s not a race she enjoys, or is suited for (she has to race it in order to be considered for selection in any national teams). But she is looking forward to her first major hit-out of the year with the Tour of Qatar in February.
“I’ve never made any secret about how I feel about the Ballarat nationals course. I do it year in year out because I understand that you have to compete in the National Championships to be eligible for Australian National teams but I wish this was consistently enforced across all riders and all categories.”
This year Chloe spent 10 months away from Australia and when in Europe she’s based in Girona in Spain. So it’s really her home rather than Canberra, and there’s a huge community of cyclists living there too, so she’s got plenty of training buddies.
I asked Chloe my favourite question which I like to pose to professional cyclists – ‘How can we increase the profile of women’s cycling?’. She said that all riders have the potential to use social media to promote their own sport and many do it well by blogging and utilising social media like Twitter and Instagram. She suggests that teams could be doing more by sending more regular media releases, thus providing ready-made content for time-poor journos.
In her spare time, not that she has much of that, Chloe is studying towards her Bachelor in Communication (majoring in journalism) which she hopes to finish in February next year. She’d like to use her pro cycling experience and studies to pursue a career in sports management in the future.
Good luck in 2015. Women Who Cycle will follow your progress.