ORICA-AIS identified the team time trial at the Brianwash Ladies Tour as the team’s main objective during the five-day Dutch race. Coming ten days before the reintroduction of the team time trial at the World Championships, stage two represented the final opportunity for teams to hone their preparation in a race setting. Alex Rhodes describes the day that saw ORICA-AIS slot into second place, 19 seconds down on Specialized-lululemon.
We worked well as a team today, averaging 49 kilometers/hour over the 34 kilometer course. We’ve spent a lot of time and energy on this discipline, doing specific training to close the gap to Specialized. We were 19 seconds behind the win, which is a little disappointing. We’re closer to them than we were in Sweden [at the Vargarda World Cup] but still not there quite yet. We’re happy to be closer but disappointed to not have made up more time.
Since we raced the team time trial in Sweden, our biggest gains come from knowing each other better. In Sweden, we blew the team up 25 kilometers into the race and groveled home. Today, we all knew what each of us was capable of doing. If someone was struggling, they took a shorter turn. Someone else would take a longer turn to compensate. We looked after each other a bit better.
Shara [Gillow] had an off day, and if she’s on a better day at Worlds, we’ll see improvements right there. Judith [Arndt] was amazing as Judith always is – and Loes [Gunnewijk] also did a really strong ride. Mel [Melissa Hoskins] did her first team time trial today with the team, and that's baptisim by fire right there. We threw her in with the reigning World Time Trial Champion and told her to have it. She actually was on Judith’s wheel and did a really good job maintaining the pace set when she pulled through to the front. This is something we worked on specifically in training.
The line-up we have here will likely be our line-up for the World Championships. While the road race and time trial are raced by nations, the team time trial is a trade team event. We’re ten days out from the event, and we need to find 19 seconds somewhere.
Tonight we’ll sit down and look at footage from our race. In doing this, we’ll pick up small places where we can make gains. Off the top of my head, I can already say we can improve our position on the road and take corners more smoothly.
So, overall? Happy with the improvements. Disappointed not see bigger gains. Hopeful that we can use these next ten days to close the gap more than we already have.