Giddens hits hot streak in cooler, familiar climes

By Jared Smith

A professional performs to their top standard no matter what the conditions and Wanganui cyclist Hayley Giddens intends to live up to that creed.

The 23-year-old recently returned from her first season in the US with the Wisconsin-based ISCorp Cycling Team, a gateway team to a professional career, and despite the long run, picked up where she left off on New Zealand's roads.

Giddens enjoyed her third consecutive win in the 116km Tour de Manawatu on November 4 and followed that up with victory in the 114km Dave Logue Cycle Classic race in Taumarunui last Sunday.

"It doesn't get easier, you just get stronger," she said of her Manawatu three-peat. "Although I'm getting stronger, there's always a lot of strong guys to keep up with."

There was also the change in climate from the deserts of Arizona and Wisconsin to the winds of Palmerston North.

Her Manawatu time of 3hr 13min was seven minutes slower than 2011 because of strong winds.

"Coming back here, where it's hilly, was the challenge," she said. "It took some adjusting, that's for sure."

She will return to the US in April, planning to do some training in California before heading back to Wisconsin.

Her ISCorp Cycling Team team is likely to be even stronger in 2013 with a mixture of American and overseas riders helping continue her development.

But as Giddens said, there's more to it than just good results making like-minded friends helps with the long grind, while the sponsors want good role models to represent their brand.

"Even the team I'm with bases rider selection by personality and performance.

"You don't want to just turn up, race, then take off. It's a lonely enough sport as it is."

Giddens will have a club ride in Palmerston North tomorrow, and on the strength of that they will decide if she enters the upcoming Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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