Hosking pedalling hard for spot on London team
On a roll … Chloe Hosking enjoys victory on the European circuit. Photo: CJFoto.com
CHLOE HOSKING didn't need to see the ''100 Days to Go'' emails and blurbs on websites to feel the Olympic Games fever ramp up this week. She has felt it rise as every kilometre of racing has passed under her wheels in Europe this season - fittingly one in which she has proven to be a winner.
''You can feel the tension,'' the 21-year-old Canberran told the Herald from her European base in Girona, Spain. ''There is a different atmosphere at the races. They are that much harder, the girls are that much stronger and it's all because it is an Olympic year.''
She will be reminded of that again when she races in tomorrow's Omloop van Borsele in the Netherlands and in Sunday's Grand Prix Stad Roeselare in Belgium.
Fortunate for Hosking (Specialised-lululemon) as the competition has ramped up, so too have her performances that include two wins in sprints.
As important is that she has won against the best, including the first two placegetters from last year's world titles, and on flat and now hilly courses. Hosking is fast developing into the ideal rider that Australia will need to win a medal in the 140-kilometre women's Olympic road race to be held on July 29.
Since placing sixth in her first elite world titles at Copenhagen last year, Hosking has become a major contender for the three-rider road team. Her win in last Sunday's 121.3km Halle-Buizingen race in Belgium follows her victory in the Drentse 8 race in the Netherlands on March 8, when last year's world title gold and silver medallists, Italian Giorgia Bronzini and Marianne Vos of the Netherlands, finished second and third.
That first win was important because of who she beat, but her victory at Halle-Buizingnen was crucial on a course that had hills. Climbing hills is not a strength but she must handle them to win a medal in the Olympic race that will include five laps of the 15.5km Box Hill circuit.
''I know there is still work to do. I'm very happy with my sprint … but I still need to work on surviving the climbs,'' she said. ''So last Sunday was a really good race to show I could do that. There were 180 starters and only 40 finished and there was something like 900 metres of climbing in it. People are saying the Olympic course is flat, but there is a climb. So I have to show I can survive that and hopefully … I will be able to show that.''
Hosking believes her improved climbing will help her develop into the package Australia will need for the Olympic road race and beyond.
''The Drentse 8 win served as that extra bit of motivation to work harder, do everything right to try and get the final selection for the Olympics,'' Hosking said. ''With last Sunday's win, on top of the winning sprint, to survive and feel really strong on the climbs is about putting together the total package that I need to be working towards.''