Rochelle Gilmore: The Roar interview
Commonwealth gold medallist and Sprinting specialist for FAREN HONDA – CICLI KUOTA, Rochelle Gilmore, has kindly given-up her time to answer questions from GreenEDGEFans for the Roar.
GreenEDGE Fans (GEF): You have been cycling for a long time. In your BMX days along with your brothers you made your local paper when you were quite young. Could you elaborate on your early days as a cyclist before you became a professional?
Rochelle Gilmore (RG): Like many other young Australian cyclists, I was supported by local clubs and institutes, participating in many weekend tours in county towns. I had so much fun on those bus trips! My brother took up cycling at the same time as me at the age of 14, and pushed me to my limits in training.
GEF: You reside in Italy during the racing season but you are very happy to race anywhere. Any reasons‚ why you chose Italy and particularly the Dolomites?
RG: I started my professional cycling career with a team based in Treviso, Northern Italy. After a few years, I decided to have a European base to call home, so I bought a house in Italy.
I needed my own space outside of work (training/racing) hours, so I chose a location 1.5 hours from the team base, in the Italian Dolomites near San Martino di Castrozza. I like to be away from the chaos, and the scenery is spectacular – it motivates me every day!
I always love coming home to Australia to see my friends and family.
GEF: Can you outline your cycling achievements that you enjoy or cherish the most?
RG: I won the Commonwealth Games Road Race in 2010, which made me a Commonwealth Games cycling champion and gold medalist. This was a huge achievement.
I’ve won a few track world cups but the World Cup I won in Geelong was also very special. I got to wear the World Cup leader’s jersey and was ranked number one in the world for a period of time.
When I think of the emotions that come with winning big races, I also reflect on small local races, which give me the same instant feeling of accomplishment!
GEF: An awkward question to a lady, but you have been professional and cycling for a long time. Are there any goals/achievements other than your prestigious palmeres that you would like to achieve?
RG: There are so many things I would love to achieve. Of course I’d definitely like to achieve another big result/title on the bike.
Off the bike, I’m also working towards some serious goals relating to the promotion of women’s cycling. My goal is to promote women’s cycling; from a social fitness level to the elite level. This isn’t something I expect to achieve overnight though. It’s definitely a long-term goal that I’m working on with passion, dedication and a strong ambition to succeed.
GEF: You are an ardent supporter of improving the position, competition and security of women’s cycling around the world. What do you see is the fundamental issue with women’s cycling or even women’s sport in general not getting the coverage, money and recognition?
RG: These things take time – women’s cycling has developed quite a bit in the last 10 years, which is good to see.
I think the organisers of the big men’s races need to feature a women’s race, just like the big tennis tournaments have both men and women’s matches. We’d then be showcased and people would become more interested in the sport, and in turn learn that women’s cycling can be very exciting!
The media would then naturally start to cover our events, and the sponsors would start to utilise what we have to offer.
GEF: As a business woman you have made a success of creating your own brand and your own teams with considerable success, what would you say to younger female cyclists who are starting their career as professional?
RG: Think about your future and use your time off the bike wisely. Give 100% to your training and to your recovery.
Be sure to do something productive with the other hours of the day, be it studying, self promotion or networking. I’d also encourage young female cyclists to start learning a second or third language! Racing overseas becomes a big part of the job so speaking another language is a handy tool to have.
GEF: You speak well and are quick witted when interviewed, do you see yourself moving into media or would you utilise your negotiation skills and business acumen to go into management after your cycling career comes to an end?
RG: I hope to do both. My number one passion right now is cycling and competing but I really enjoy public speaking, TV presenting and commentating.
I am also extremely passionate about management, development and promotion in the world of women’s cycling. I think, and hope that these things will always be a big part of my life.
GEF: In last year’s Giro Donne you had a horrific crash that included multiple breaks in your pelvis, a fracture in your back and three cracked ribs, these are significant injuries particularly the pelvis which is notoriously hard to mend. What made you get back on the bike particularly after losing nearly nine kilos of race tuned muscle during rehabilitation?
RG: I had a heavy crash at the 2011 Giro d’Italia on stage five, in the final 200m. I fell on large cobble stones sprinting into the centre of Verona with 50-100 women at 70km/hr. The fall resulted in a severe concussion, a fractured pelvis (two places) fractured vertebra and three broken ribs. I was completely immobilised for 40 days, and had to learn to walk again, in a pool first and then on dry land.
The desire to win again motivated me through rehabilitation. I love everything about this sport and I wasn’t ready to step away from the elite competitive side. I have more to achieve on the bike, and loving every minute as I work towards my goals.
GEF: You’re publicly very fond of your mother Delwyn and your family…tough question…but are we going to see some more wonderful Gilmore’s?
RG: Absolutely, I just need to find Mr Right first!
GEF: This month you will race at least 12 days in three continents and five countries. How the hell do you do that?
RG: I just have to take it easy sometimes! I’m in Canada now after a trip from China to Italy, so I’ve had to spend most of the day recovering.
I went on a gorgeous 90km ride this morning, but by 10am I had finished and was in full recovery mode. I caught up on some emails, had a delicious lunch at the hotel followed by a massage, stretch and a nap.
When we travel this much we need to spend any time we can just recovering in a hotel room to protect our bodies.