Interview: Vicki Whitelaw
Interview with Australian Vicki Whitelaw.
She won a stage in the Giro Donne and the Tour de L'Aude this year.
Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Vicki Whitelaw. I am a 31 year old cyclist. I live in
Canberra, Australia and have been riding for 4 years. I have recently returned
from my first European season and am enjoying a well earned break from racing.
Why did you choose cycling as your sport?
I have always been active throughout my school and university life
having played competitive Netball, cross country running and a stint at rowing
during university. I found running was hurting my knees, therefore I decided
to go with cycling which is a lot more egalitarian- it hurts everything!
What kind of rider is Vicki Whitelaw?
My passion is time trialing, I seem to have the motor for the strength
endurance aspect of the race against the clock. In terms of road racing, I found
myself drawn to tough one-day races or stages that contain some good power climbs.
I have had some good results in shorter stage races but am yet to master the
Which hobbies do you have next to cycling?
These days I practice soft tissue therapy. It used to be my real
job but currently it seems more like a hobby!
How do you look back on the 2008 season?
It was certainly a baptism of fire with the early Spring classics-
a rude introduction to European racing. By mid- year I felt like I had settled
into the European peleton and a few wins started coming my way. I finished the
season feeling like I still had decent improvements to make and am looking forward
to future European seasons.
What performance/achievement you are the most proud of?
Probably the time trial win at the Giro d'Italia. It was exciting
to have a victory in my pet event.
Vicki Whitelaw in action during the 2008 Holland Hills Classic
Photo © 2008 Bart Hazen
What do you prefer the most in racing?
A long time trial with some good power hills in it.
What race has been a favorite of yours?
I know it sounds insane and I've only done it once- but I have to
admit that Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) leaves me with good memories.
It's a solid race but it really suits my strength and there is a real cult following
of the event. The atmosphere is unreal.
Who has inspired you, or currently inspires you to race. (Or in the present)?
I'm not inspired by any one person in cycling. I do it because I
enjoy the racing. There are certainly riders that I look up to especially some
of the good time trialists.
How does your ideal preparation look like for the new season?
Not crashing! I had a few weeks break when I came home and am currently
in a period of base strength training. It's difficult for those of us living
in the Southern hemisphere as our season commences very early with our Nationals
in the first week of January. It requires us to be in form a lot earlier than
the Euro girls. Basically between now and then, the training will ramp up, and
in the last couple of weeks I'll add some intensity.
What are your goals for the 2009 season? and if you don't mind…. long term
career goals as a person and cyclist?
Obviously, I am keen to build on the successes of my 2008 season
and establish myself as a strong time trialist and capable road rider. As with
every year I aim to be selected to represent Australia at the World Championships.
As with many cyclists, the Olympics is a major goal. However, between now and
then there are intermediate goals and one of them is to keep focus and remember
that cycling is only one aspect to my life.
You rode for the AIS most of the time in the European races. Are you going to
ride for the AIS once again next year or do you have offers from European teams?
At the end of the 2008 season, a number of womens' teams in Europe
either ceased operations or amalgamated. There are roughly 50 fewer postions
available in the professional peleton for 2009, leaving a lot of girls unsure
of their cycling future.
The AIS will not announce its team until after the Nationals in January and
there are also a few other avenues that I am exploring. Nothing is set in concrete
at this stage.
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