Loes Gunnewijk made the race winning five-rider breakaway on the fourth stage of the Brainwash Ladies Tour. Six kilometers from the finish, Gunnewijk crashed in a corner, losing contact with the move and eventually withdrawing from the race. Shara Gillow describes the day below.
It was a hard day today from the start. We wanted to make it aggressive with a lot of attacking, and we accomplished that. We were on the front all day. Our pace and attacks reduced the size of the bunch towards the end of the race. Apart from that, nothing much happened in terms of early action.
With about 20 kilometers to go, Loes got away with [Marianne] Vos (Rabo Women), Charlotte Becker (Specialized – lululemon) [Emma] Johansson (Hitec Products – Mistral Homes) and [Janneke] Kanis (Skil-Argos). The break was perfect for us. There were a few riders attempting to bridge across, but they didn’t end up making it. We were very happy with the race situation.
Apparently, Loes took a corner too hot. There was a little bit of gravel in the corner, and she came down pretty hard. She was inspected by a doctor, and we have heard that nothing is broken. Her ribs hurt quite a bit, and her bike is a complete write-off, but that seems to be the worst of it. She’s just pretty beat-up. At the moment, the idea is that she’ll rest up and recover before the team time trial. That’s what we’re all hoping, anyway. She’s an important part of our team for the TTT at Worlds.
When Loes crashed out of the breakaway, we had to get on the front and drive the pace. We only had six kilometers left to make up ground, and by the time we really got going, we were never going to catch them. In the end, Vos won the stage and Becker holds onto the race lead. The main group ended about 1:30 down on the break.
Rough day for the team in the end, but now we’ll get to relax a bit whilst the opposition has to pick up the slack and work hard. Things could have been worse with Loes’ crash. We’re relieved she’s okay and hopeful she’ll recover quickly before Worlds.