Peloton Watch
  Melissa Hoskins regains her confidence after dual stage wins at Santos Women's Tour  
  January 23rd 2015  
  Melissa Hoskins has been a constant member of the Australian elite track team and a member of professional road team Orica-AIS since 2012. Splitting ones time between the track and the road has proved challenging for many but Hoskins has found a middle ground to get the best out of herself in both disciplines.

A frustrating 2014 with a number of results that were close yet so far at the same time dented her confidence. Hoskins was the only Australian rider to ride both the track and road at the Commonwealth Games. Despite not taking home a medal for herself Hoskins was a crucial part of Annette Edmondson's gold in the scratch, and the Australian team in the road race where she finished tenth riding in a support role.

Since ending her season after claiming silver in the TTT at the World Championships, where she became one of only three riders to earn a medal in all three editions, it has been a track focus for Hoskins. The London Track World Cup in December her only event since October before the Santos Women's Tour. In London Hoskins was part of the Australian team in all three rounds that pushed Great Britain all the way and continues to make up ground on the dominant GB team.

Hoskins was given permission to take a few days off the track and ride the inaugural Santos Women's Tour. A lack of racing on the road and being hit by a car the day before left Hoskins unsure of how she would go. Below Hoskins talks regaining her confidence, success at the Santos Women's Tour and focus on Track National Championships and further reducing that gap to Great Britain in the team pursuit.

PelotonWatch: You had a number of consistent top 5 and top 10 finishes in 2014. Did it get to a point where you were starting to get frustrated being close but not quite taking a win?

Melissa Hoskins: Yes for sure, it's super frustrating and then you start to over think things and you lose confidence. That's the hardest thing to regain. Towards the end of the 2014 season I began to take some positive steps in the hills and I knew that things would start to fall into place.

PW: The day before the Santos Women's Tour you were hit by a car. Fortunately not badly injured. What sort of impact did it have on you?

MH: I feel considering the accident I bounced back well. Physically I was quite sore for three or so days but mentally I was focused on the tour and was really looking forward to it so nothing was going to stop me racing with the girls. Having something else to focus on (the racing) made it easier to put what happened in the back of my mind and get down to business.

PW: Since ending your 2014 season you have been on the track training. You got permission to race the Santos Women's Tour heading in what were you hoping for?

MH: I was super excited when my coach said I would be racing the tour. Getting out of the camp and track environment and stretching the legs on the road is exactly what I felt like I needed. I didn't have any super expectations because I hadn't done any racing this year on the road, but after the first stage it became clear I had some form, so I wanted to have some fun with it and challenge myself.

PW: Winning stage two must have been a big boost for you? How much confidence did you take from it?

MH: I needed a win. I've needed one for a while to get the confidence I had lost in my sprinting back. To do it on stage two with all the crowds and plenty of support from friends and family over from Perth was unreal. Having Rohan [Dennis] at the finish made it even better. We never get to see one another race so to pull it off and share it with those people was special.

PW: It was evident in the second half of 2014 how much your climbing has improved is it something you put a big priority on improving?

MH: Yes it was a massive focus for me. On the road if you can get over a hill you can increase your chances of winning in a lot more races. It was evident to me that if I could loose some weight I could improve in more areas than just in the hills. Even on the track, I'm stronger than I have ever been. I'm happier and enjoying what I do again.

PW: You finished second on the Queen Stage that included Checker Hill. Before the race did you expect to be competitive on stage three?

MH: This stage I knew was going to be a challenge but I knew I could climb, I just didn't know how much I had improved so it was a good test. I also attacked it. I challenged myself and I ended up fourth over the top. I know I'm on the right track.

PW: You took out the final stage making it two wins, second overall and four podium places from four stages. A successful race what does it mean to you?

MH: It was the cherry on top of a good four days for myself and the team. I'm taking a lot of confidence into Track Nationals next week and then over to Europe. I still have plenty to learn and a lot more challenges ahead but the four days of the tour were good stepping stone for me in the right direction.

PW: Silver in the team pursuit in December at the London Track World Cup happy with how it went?

MH: Over the moon! We were only .2 of a second off Great Britain in the qualifier. We have closed the gap big time and for us it's a confidence boost. We are training harder than ever and we are motivated as a team. We may not have done it but we made some huge gains in London and it gave us a good sniff.

PW: Second fastest in qualifying, posted the fastest time in the first round and then were close to GB in the gold final. Do you feel you are making progress toward GB?

MH: For sure. The times say it all. We are more determined then ever

PW: What do you think to the move to four rider teams over 4km and now three rounds instead of just two?

MH: It's definitely not a bad thing. It's the same for all the teams, we just have to be fitter and more conditioned then everyone else if we want to win.

PW: Track National Championships are next week what are you riding there and what are you hoping to achieve?

MH: Individual Pursuit, Points Race and Team Pursuit. I'm chasing a personal best in the IP and I'm going for a good result in the points. I came close last year but came off with silver. Hopefully this year I can go that one step higher.

PW: Last year you did the Tour of Qatar between Track National and the World Championships is that something you will be repeating this year?

MH: This year it's not going to be possible. Worlds are in Paris middle of February and for myself and the track team this is a massive goal so we are putting all the eggs in one basket and that's our only focus.

Melissa Hoskins on her way to bronze in the IP at Australian National Championships in 2014.
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