Crome sprints into 2018

Joel Peterson | Bendigo Weekly | 12-Jan-2018

Sam Crome has enjoyed a strong start to the year. Photo: Andrew Perryman.

THE fact that two of the best results in the career of cyclist Sam Crome have come months apart doesn’t bother him in the slightest.

In fact, he views his form in his two most recent starts as a positive sign.

The 24-year-old’s efforts at his two most recent events – last year’s Tour of Hainan and last weekend’s Cycling Australia National Championship – are a strong indication he’s on track with a goal to become a more consistent force at the front of the peloton.

Crome placed seventh at last weekend’s national titles.

It’s the perfect springboard to a year in which he hopes he will score some more winning opportunities with his Bennelong SwissWellness team.

“I couldn’t have been happier with how road nats went,” he said.

“I rode position really all day and we had Chris Harper up the front so I knew I had some work to do chasing moves to protect him.

“I got into a good spot behind Jay McCarthy, who was trailing Caleb Ewan (the pre-race favourite) and although I didn’t have much kick left to come seventh was a great result.

“I left knowing I couldn’t have done any more, which is all you ask for really.”

Crome was one of several Bendigo riders, including sixth-placed Chris Hamilton, who was riding on the back of significant emotion at the championships following the death of fellow local and cyclist Jason Lowndes.

“It probably hits me more when I’m alone than on the bike, I had my moments even at the weekend driving over on Saturday,” he said.

“Just before the race I saw his parents on the podium and gave them a wave and that put me in a good frame of mind.

“It was probably more that even though it was a hard race, in the back of your mind you knew you had to give it all because you still have the chance to be there and compete. I think it drove all of us to just go that little bit harder.”

He initially thought he had earned a spot at this week’s Tour Down Under, but was rejected after a Cycling Australia administrative error meant he and Harper were denied a place in the race.

“As far as we knew, we were getting five spots with Uni-SA. And then team manager Andrew (Christie-Johnson) found out the UCI informed CA in March last year to start any World Tour race you had to be part of a testing protocol six weeks prior,” he said.

“So that basically rules out everyone from our team. So myself and Harps, who had unreal rides on Sunday, we can’t do Down Under. Andrew was so apologetic because he wanted to take me to TDU, but with the rules we can’t go.

“It was a kick in the guts to hear that, to know they wanted to take me after Sunday, and I can’t go... You didn’t even have to do a single doping test, you just had to be in the system. It’s a bit hard, Andrew fought and fought, he really wanted to reward us.

“I’m not going to dwell on it, my next race will probably be Sun Tour, so I’ll stay at home and get ready for that.”

Crome is hoping to show more of his improved climbing skills this season.

“I’m not a pure climber I guess, but it’s something I’ve worked really hard on and think I can get some good results in that role,” he said.

“I’m not a typical climber like some guys but I know I cam hang with them and then finish with a bit of a kick, so that’s something I’ll hope to show this year. 

“That’s one of my big goals, is to be more consistent. In other years I’ve had good results but they’ve been too far apart, I’m really hoping to have a lot more consistent results this year.”

Zak Dempster will fill one of the spots with the Uni-SA squad, alongside Scott Bowden, Nathan Earle, Alex Porter, Tim Roe, Steele Von Hoff and Sam Welsford.

Chris Hamilton will also be riding in the event for the third consecutive year, with his Team Sunweb outfit.

The Tour Down Under begins in Adelaide on Sunday.


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