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Aussie Pro Cyclist Oenone Wood

Oenone Wood

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Aussie Pro Cyclist Oenone Wood, speaks to Women Sport Report
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Picture credited to James Victor

Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Oenone Wins in Montreal
In the second of two stages held in the Tour of Montreal, Oenone Wood sprinted to victory in front of a huge crowd on the streets of 'Little Italy'. Stage 4 was a 50km critierium, complete with sprint primes on a number of laps.
Oenone increased her lead in the race for the yellow jersey after taking a time bonus for the stage win.


To see more of Oenone’s up to date news go to
www.oenonewood.com



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Photo Joel Roberts

Q5. For the past 2 seasons you’ve been riding for Equipe Nurnberger Versicherung, are you riding for them in 2007?

I have signed a 2-year contract with T-Mobile. I have recently returned from the training camp in January and I am really excited about the upcoming season. The team is a powerhouse of talent and each of the riders was carefully chosen for their ability to work in a team. The move will give me a fantastic opportunity to develop as a rider and learn from the experience of those around me.

Oenone Wood capped off a brilliant 2007 Tour of Montreal, winning the last stage, and securing the yellow jersey.

Oenone is the 2004 and 2005 World Cup Champion, 2004 Athens Olympic Games representative, 2004 Australian Road Champion, 2004 and 2005 Australian Time Trial Champion, Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist and a professional cyclist for T Mobile Professional Cycling Team.

Career highlights:

2004 Athens Olympic Games Australian representative
AIS Team Selection 2003
2004 Geelong World Cup win
2004 World Cup Series win
2005 World Cup Series win
2006 Commonwealth Games Gold Medal (ITT)
2006 Commonwealth Games Silver Medal (Road Race)

www.oenonewood.com

Oenone is the 2004 and 2005 World Cup Champion, 2004 Athens Olympic Games representative, 2004 Australian Road Champion, 2004 and 2005 Australian Time Trial Champion, Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist and a professional cyclist for T Mobile Professional Cycling Team.


Q1. You started riding back in 2001, what or who got you into cycling in the first place?

I was in the Air Force when I started cycling. One of my physical trainers saw that I had potential in the sport because I had been racing triathlon and doing well in the bike leg. He convinced me to go to a bike race and that was it.

Q2. Were your family and friends supportive of your ambitions at the time? Do they support you now?

My family has always been supportive of my involvement in sport, but I have never been pushed to compete. Having no real connection or knowledge of cycling, it took them a while before they realised that I was actually not too bad. After I won dual national titles in 2004, they decided they had better start coming to watch.

Q3. Was your cycling talent spotted early on and nurtured? Or did you have to fight to get recognised?

I was fortunate to be supported from the very start through the ACT Academy of Sport. They gave me a scholarship in my first season of cycling and then in the second season, I received a scholarship with the Australian Institute of Sport. In 2002 I had my first stint of racing with the national team in Europe.

Q4. You’ve had a pretty meteoric rise through the ranks so to speak, how have you found the pressure and the training to achieve such high status in such a relatively short time?

I guess the advantage in achieving success quickly is that it comes somewhat unexpectedly. The first real pressure I had in the sport was during the selection process for the Olympics. I have since learnt that that particular process is just as harrowing regardless of the sport you compete in.

One element of the training I have found difficult to adjust to is lack of variation. Having some from triathlon, I enjoyed to variety of three sports in one. I now include some cross training during my off-season. This helps to keep me fresh and focused!


Q6. Do you enjoy the amount of hard work you have to put in to get results?

I like the challenge of the sport. Certainly the physical aspect of cycling can be fairly gruelling, but I also really enjoy the mental games we have to play in racing. Patience is one aspect that I have found a hard lesson. In the last couple of years I have earned a reputation in my team for sprinting too early..

Q7. How much training do you put in?

Usually I would ride between 500 and 700km a week, plus 3 sessions in the gym. In the off-season I do a little bit of running also. Any other sporty activities (rockclimbing/surfing) I consider fun and not training.

Q8. How do you feel about the rewards you get as a professional female cyclist compared to your male counterparts?

Often I wish it was more equal across the sport, particularly for those riding for smaller professional teams who have to work outside of the sport to support themselves. This can make it really tough for those riders to compete. But I really can’t complain, after all, I ride my bike for a living.

Q9. Do you think the public perception of professional cycling as suffered quite badly at the hands of the media over various drug scandals involving your male counterparts?

Definitely. The doping scandals tarnish the sport as a whole and this is really disappointing because cycling is such an exciting sport. Doping in cycling need to be addressed and I think the steps being taken now by teams like T-Mobile to introduce very clear ‘no-tolerance’ policies will go a long way in improving the image of the sport.

Q10. Has this affected your outlook on the sport?

No. I love cycling, it has all the components – physical challenge combined with strategy. I am confident that the UCI can develop methods to catch the cheats and deal out the appropriate punishments. I realise that this is a difficult process, but there are a lot of people who are committed to creating a fair sport.

Q11. You’re currently based in Germany, when racing. How often do you get to return to Australia?

We travel a lot so I don’t get much time at home. I usually head back to Australia between November and Febuary. For the 2007 season I will base myself out of Spain.

Q12. What do you do for relaxation?

When I have time I read, but during holidays I really love adventure sport. Canyoning is probably my favourite holiday activity.

Q13. What type of training do you do in the winter? How does it differ from your race training?

I don’t have a winter – for me it is perpetual summer and spring. I prefer it that way, I am not a great fan of cold weather.

Q14. 2006 wasn’t such a good year on the World Cup scene for you, compared to previous years, was that to do with peaking early for the Commonwealth Games or the effects of that devastating crash that claimed the life of Aussie team mate Amy Gillett?

It was a much harder year in terms of motivation to race. I took a long time to really feel comfortable on the bike after Amy died. It really made me feel quite vulnerable. It was not really until I raced the giro d’Italia that I started to really want to race.



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Q15. Were you pleased with your results at the Commonwealth games?

Of course. I think the Aussie women’s team exceeded our own expectations. I was particularly happy with how well we rode as a team in the road race.

Q16. Were you pleased with your 3rd in the World RR Champs?

My 3rd place in Madrid was great – it made me pretty determined to keep aiming for the world championship. I know if I can come that close I can win. My 6th place in Salzburg I wasn’t as happy with, because I know that from a strategic point of view I rode really well, but my fitness let me down in the finish.

Q17. What frustrates you most when racing?

If you finish a race and you realise that you made a mistake or didn’t ride to your full potential. I think the idea that you are only as good as your last performance is really true in cycling and a bad race always makes me want to improve.


Q18. What do you miss when you’re in Germany?

The clear blue sky that is so typical in Canberra. I am yet to find a place in Europe where the sky and air is as clear as at home.

Q19. What do you miss when you’re in Australia?

Being on the move, different languages, really good gelato.

Q20. Who do you consider your main rivals?

From the 2006 season the emerging rival teams would definitely be Buitenpoort and Univega. But I think T-Mobile is up to the challenge…

Q21. Who do you admire most?

As a rider I think Petra Rossner was great. She has an amazing ability to come up with winning tactics and create the confidence in the team to carry it out.

Q22. What race do you most look forward to out of your comprehensive calendar?

I really enjoy racing the giro. There is a definite character about racing in Italy.

Q23. What sort of music inspires you when training?

Actually, Metallica. I probably don’t really look like the typical metal fan, but there you go.

Q24. You do a lot of travelling do you enjoy that part of your role as a pro cyclist?

I doubt I could be a cyclist if I didn’t. I have perfected the art of living out of a suitcase. The downside is not being able to cook your own meals or choose what you will eat. The upside is, you never have to do the dishes.

Q25. What do you do to alleviate the boredom when waiting at airports?

I fill in my time with reading and internet, but I still find it pretty boring.

Q26. You’re now a qualified electrician do you get to put your training into practise?

I have a degree in electronic engineering, but so far my practical experience is somewhat lacking. During the off-season I have worked with an electrician to gain some practical experience. That was quite a novelty and a lot of fun. Sometime in the future I am planning to use my degree and work as an engineer. Perhaps not for a while yet though..

Q27. What would you consider as your career highlights so far?

Successive World Cup wins, Commonwealth Games, Worlds medal

Q28. What are your aims for 2007?

Worlds Championships is the main goal for the year but I also would really like to have a consistently strong season.

Q29. What does the future hold, where would you like to see yourself in 4 years time?

At the moment the focus is the Beijing Olympics. After that I will reassess my options.

 

Interview By Joolze Dymond - www.joolzedymond.com



 

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