Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Interview from the couch - catching up with Chloe

(from and HTC-Columbia)

The 2010 Ladies Tour of Qatar begins on Wednesday, and one rider eager to get the wheels rolling is Australian Chloe Hosking. It will be the first time she races with new team HTC-Columbia.

At 19, Chloe already boasts an impressive palmares. Her stellar 2009 included the following results: 1st overall Tour of Chongming Island, 1st Omloop der Kempen, and 2nd Stage 2 Tour FĂ©minin en Limousin, to name just a few. (click here for more).

Hardly surprising then such riding captured the attention of Bob Stapleton and late last year she inked a one year contract with one of the best pro teams in the world.

In January, she left Australia for HTC's Mallorca training camp with a victory in the U23 category of the Australian Criterium Championships (silver in the overall race) and a 2nd overall in the four day Jayco Bay Criterium Series in Geelong.

Tourdecouch caught up with Chloe today.

HTC, Australia, the World....

TdC: You said you were with Greipel before the TDU talking tactics, what tips did you give him? Did he put them into action?
He wouldn’t stop picking my brains, it was a little irritating! I just reinforced to him he needs to have faith in his team mates and trust his instincts. You know, the basics...he was all ears.

TdC: On your blog you mentioned saying to a fellow HTC'er "I can win" after a reccy of the Australian Criterium Championships course - what prompted you to say that - e.g. did you feel in form or the Crit course suited you...
I love Criteriums, they just suit the kind of rider that I am, so I’ll always go into one with the thought that I can win. You can’t go into a race thinking you’re already beaten; otherwise you’ll never be on the top of that podium.

TdC: You said you felt so much pressure after saying it. Do you tend to put a lot of pressure on yourself?
I think more of the pressure came from the fact it was the first time the new team was watching my race in their jersey, that’s what I was more freaked out about. I felt it was important to perform, to show the team and the public that it was the right decision to sign me.

As for putting pressure on myself, generally, I’m the only one who has piled it on me. I have really high expectations of myself in everything I do and don’t like to do things half-heartedly. I think it’s something that has definitely helped in my cycling.

TdC: Is it more of a stress/pressure riding at home i.e. to win an Australian championships...or is it the same across the board?
I think actually the pressure is lifted a little. I always feel more relaxed when riding at home, but in saying that most of the races I do when in Australia are more ‘training’ based because they’re always so early in the season so there isn’t that pressure to perform. Although as I said, at the National Championships I definitely wanted to put in a good performance because I was in the HTC-Columbia colours.

TdC: What are the things you think you still need to learn/improve on as a cyclist?
There’s always things to learn. I think I definitely need to improve my climbing abilities and endurance, something I’m currently working on. I want to try and develop into a more well rounded rider, similar to the sort of rider Oenone Wood was (a fellow Canberran), but this won’t happen overnight.

(from - winning Tour of Chongming)

TdC: What are your thoughts about the Australian nationals being on the same course for six years?
It’s a bit disappointing to say the least. Every other country changes the course every year. It just means that Australia will have the same national Champion, or the same sort of rider at least as National Champion for the next six years and how is that exciting?

2010 presents Cycling Australia with the best opportunity to change this, the World Championships are being held in Geelong, why not give our riders the opportunity to race on the course before other nations, and use it for the National Championships? It would have given us a huge advantage- and probably drawn a stellar field also.

TdC: How did you feel signing that contract with HTC?
It’s something that I hadn’t really even ever dreamed of. I always said that I wanted to be a professional cyclist but I’m not sure I ever really fully believed that I was capable of it. It’s still a little surreal, I ride for the best team in the world and I’m 19...what!?

TdC: So you've ticked one of your goals (sign with a pro team) what are your other career goals? And for 2010?
I’m definitely looking towards the Olympics in London and then after that I’ll reassess. For 2010 I’m hoping to make both the Commonwealth Games and the World Championship Squads. While they’re definitely ambitious goals I don’t think they’re that far out of my reach.

TdC: Your hopes for Qatar
I’m not really sure what to expect actually. Not only will it be my first time riding the race but it’s the first time racing with the new team so I want to go in with an open mind.

TdC: Where are you basing yourself for the European season?
I hooked up an amazing apartment in Girona, Spain with two other Australian girls Tiffany Cromwell (Australian National Team) and Josie Tomic (Lotto Belisol Ladies). The former tenant rode for Garmin-Transition and our next door neighbour is someone from Astana!

TdC: How did the training camp go in Mallorca?
It was pretty fantastic, while it took me a few days to stop whingeing about the weather I left behind in Australia the riding was actually amazing. It was really good to get to know all the girls a bit better also.

(Girona or Canberra, tough choice!)

Bikes, freedom..and loneliness

TdC: What got you into cycling/how you get into cycling? Once you were, how did you feel?
The father. I was always really sporty, doing every sport under the sun and then one day I just asked Dad, who is a keen cyclist, if he could set me up on a bike. He couldn’t get me on one quick enough and I just never stopped.

Initially I just really liked the freedom of it. I thought it was super cool that at the age of 12 I could wake up in the morning and meet the local junior bunch for the weekly ride and have done 30km before school even started. And then I started winning, so that was a bonus!

TdC: Biggest influence on your career
It may sound a little lame, but definitely my Dad. I’ve never really had those ‘Heroes’ that other people might have. I just always wanted to be the best I could be. So Dad has probably had the biggest influence on my cycling. He has always been so supportive and has taught me so much about racing.

TdC: First bike?
Some metallic blue compact frame Giant, a hand me down from my Dad. It had illegal wheels which all the juniors complained about me riding. At the time I didn’t understand why they were illegal; I just thought they looked pretty.

TdC: How do you like your current bike?
The Scott is fantastic. Super light and just accelerates beneath you. I’m really looking forward to racing it in Qatar in a few days. Qatar’s well known as a race specially for sprinters so it will be good to test it out in my home environment.

TdC: Describe how you feel when you're riding
I’ve never really thought about it. I love the rush of adrenalin you get when you’re racing. The challenge and how when it comes to a sprint and you’re moving at 60km/hr you have to make split second decisions that can make or ruin your race.

TdC: Hardest bits about being a pro cyclist? And the best bits?
Constantly being away from home and loved ones, especially my puppy! People don’t realise but it can get quite lonely, there is definitely some quality Skype time going on.

Best bit is you’re getting paid to do what you would do for free; I now have an excuse to be lazy if I’m not on the bike. ‘Mum, I can’t hang out the washing, I’m’s my job.’

A few of my favourite things:

TdC: Favourite belgian beer
Leffe, for sure.

TdC: Fave ride around Canberra? Anywhere else in the world?
Actually, if you had have asked me two weeks ago I would have said it was just a nice cruisy ridearound Cotter in Canberra. But I just finished my first training camp in Mallorca, Spain with the team and found some amazing rides there. I loved the rides through the mountains around the bay there. Beautiful views and the climbs didn’t even hurt that much!

TdC: Favourite cycling moment - of all time, your own and/or as a spectator
Hmm, a tough one. For me personally it probably would have been my win in the third stage of the Tour of Chongming Island last year because I really had to fight for it and the team had put everything on the line to get me to the finish, so it was great to be able to reward them.

As a spectator, the stage in the TdF last year when hTC-Columbia just got on the front into a cross-wind 30kms from the finish and drilled it causing chaos and panic in the peloton behind them was pretty awesome. It showed how tactically switched on the team was and it’s something you don’t really see in the Grand Tours, especially so early on. (I’m not even being biased because I’ve signed with them, I swear!)

TdC: Favourite cyclist of all time, currently riding or not
Jens Voigt for sure. It’s always the man behind the guy that wins, but you see an interview of him and he’s just the funniest most good humoured guy out there. Such a good attitude also- I once heard a story about him, it was terrible weather and everyone was like ‘well this sucks’ but Jens was like ‘this is fantastic, half the field has already lost the race’. The glass is always half-full.

TdC: Greatest rival? Friendly rivalry or is it like Contador/Lance?
Generally I’m really good friends with everyone I ride/race with. But I think at the moment there's definitely a lot of competition between fellow Australian sprinter Rochelle Gilmore and myself, but friendly of course!
Chloe, middle, gets a win over Rochelle, right, at Women's International Cup

Canberra – the cycling capital

TdC: Canberra born and bred?
Born in Bendigo, but moved to Canberra when I was two or three and have been here ever since.

TdC: How do you rate the cycling scene in Canberra?
I think next to Melbourne it’s probably the best in Australia. Awesome riding, awesome club, and a really good quality of riders at the moment.

TdC: Favourite coffee place in Canberra? Anywhere else in the world?
Gus’s (Canberra)

TdC: I see from your blog we have a lot in common as cyclists - "dragging ourselves...(up the) small hills on Canberra's bike paths - they're tough" That one up the back of the AIS/CIT for me is a bit of a struggle with tired legs, or the one up O'Connor Ridge coming from Lyneham. Which ones you find the hardest?
I have always maintained that a lap of the Canberra lake is NOT a recovery ride. That drag up behind the golf course near the Governor Generals gets me every time!

TdC: Ever been to Mooseheads?*
Of course! Thursday night is cheap night...see you next week right?

Ladies Tour of Qatar - 3-5 February 2010:
- 15 teams of 6 riders – seven national teams, eight sporting teams
- 3 stages totalling 304 kms
- windy, hot, and deserty
- Touristy things: Museum of Islamic Art, the Al Khor Corniche, the Al Zubarah fort, the Oryx Farm, and the Sealine Beach Resort and the final stage on the Doha Corniche.

Find out more at


At the Ladies Tour of Qatar everyone will be expecting big things from world number 2 and last year's winner, Kirsten Wild. Giorgia Bronzini and Chloe's teammate Ellen Van Dijk - best young rider in the 2009 editiion – are also expected to feature.

A sprinter's course, expect to see Chloe up the front in the bunch on the final sprint, her favourite place in a race.

Follow Chloe's progress at her website

(*infamous Canberra nightclub)


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