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Interview: Vicki Whitelaw
By Bart Hazen
Date: 11/12/2008
Interview: Vicki Whitelaw

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 10-day tours.

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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