Q&A with Danielle De Francesco, Pro-Cyclist ACA Cycling Team

We recently chatted with Danielle De Francesco who has a very impressive list of sports on her resume. She’s gone from being a distance swimmer, to a triathlete & now a cyclist.

 
Dani what were your biggest swimming & triathlon experiences?
Competing at four world open water swimming championships in Italy, Spain, China & Canada thanks to the guidance of one of the worlds best coaches, Denis Cotterell, has to be my biggest swimming experience. Following my swim career, triathlon also took me back to China, where I achieved my best international result so far, placing 8th in the World Cup. I was also selected to compete in the Super League Triathlon Series, which also took me around the world to amazing locations including Malta, Mallorca, Jersey and Bali. It was such a great experience, being able to line up and compete against the best in the world.
So you’ve now turned your talents to cycling & already having some incredible results in professional teams. Can you tell us how you got into the teams. 
It all started when I was doing some local Queensland series races as training for triathlon. I was approached by the Specialized Women’s Racing to join the team, and at the time I was struggling with running injuries – so it was an offer I couldn’t turn down. Unfortunately SWR folded last year, but I was lucky enough to be contacted by  ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast to join the team for 2022. 
 
This takes us into 2022 where you’ve just ridden for ACA Pro Cycling at Nationals & Tour Down Under. How did you go in these events?
I was really happy with my performance at Nationals in the road race. Six weeks out I started training under Jordan Kerby Coaching and began to purely focus on cycling and Nationals TT and road race. I knew I was fitter than previous years, but I was still surprised to grab 5th in the road race after cramping up in 2021, and DNF’ing in 2020 as a triathlete. I was so thankful to have found Crampfix prior to Nationals this year! Tour Down Under was my first tour with the ARA girls, and another great experience under the belt. We worked well as a team over the 4 days of racing, and saw our teammate Maeve grab the overall win! I was happy to finish 9th overall on GC. 
 
Apart from cycling you’re now a qualified dietician on the Gold Coast. How important is it to get your nutrition right?
Optimal nutrition is equally as important as training. You can put in all the hard work in training, but if your nutrition isn’t up to scratch, then you aren’t giving yourself the chance to perform at your very best. It is all too common that I see talented athletes ticking all the boxes with their training, but are yet to reach their full potential, or are hindered by injuries due to poor nutrition. I’ve been very lucky to use my experience over the years to help other athletes get the most out of their chosen sport.
 
As FIXX Nutrition are now the official nutrition partner to your team ACA Pro Cycling, how did you feel taking the range during Nationals & TDU & which products did you use? 
I was super excited when I heard the news about partnering up with Fixx as I know how good the quality of the products are. At Road Nationals, prior to the start, I had a Fixx Mocha Coffee Shot. During our 104km race, I got through 4 bottles of Fixx Fuel X Pro in my bottles (my personal favourite is the tropical). I also had a CrampFix in the last 10km, as I began to feel the signs of a cramp, which worked wonders as I ended up 5th in a sprint finish. Throughout TDU, myself and the team used the Fuel X Pro, and always had a CrampFix on board just in case. I find that Fixx sits really well in my stomach, and the flavours are really nice (not too overly sweet) which is crucial for our races which are around that 3hr mark. Very excited to continue using Fixx in training and upcoming races!