Nettie Edmondson time trialed onto her first road podium of the season at the Festival Luxembourgeois - Elsy Jacobs. Finishing 2” behind stage winner Annemiek Van Vleuten (Rabobank Liv/Giant), Edmondson was one of four ORICA-AIS riders to finish in the prologue top ten. In his own words, Sport Director Dave McPartland details the successful outing for his team.
The three day stage race in Luxembourg opened with a very short prologue. At 1.8 kilometres, the course was short even by prologue standards. The time trial began on this brick sort of pavé section for about 500 metres before hitting a technical, narrow chicane that deposited the riders onto a bike path. From the bike path, the route turned around back towards the finish. It was a slow uphill drag on proper sealed roads with a couple corners before the line.
I’d call the course moderately technical, but with the rain we had this evening, the course was made to be super technical. Everyone raced in the rain, but it was coming down really heavy for the last 15 or so riders. Emma [Johansson] caught the full brunt of that. I don’t suppose it made much of a difference because everyone rode in terrible conditions.
Nettie did a bloody good job with her effort. With her track background, she’s suited to prologues, so we’re not surprised, but she’s still just starting out with us, and racing on the road in the rain is quite different than the climate-controlled track. It’s great for her confidence to get on the podium and see that she can mix it up with the top riders.
Van Vleuten and [Marianne] Vos (Rabobank Liv/Giant) took the top two spots, with Van Vleuten 1” ahead of Vos and Vos 1” ahead of Nettie. From there, we have Emma in fifth and Spratty [Amanda Sprat] in sixth, both at 5” and Jessie [MacLean] in ninth at 6”. The results set us up well for the next two days.
Of the two road courses, tomorrow is the race where we have a much better chance of impacting the overall. It’s a lot hillier than Sunday’s stage. We’ll need to be on our ball all day. It’s not ridiculously hard on it’s own. It’s more moderately difficult, so we’ll need to be switched on to make it harder than it is naturally. We’re looking to really take it to Rabobank since Van Vleuten and Vos already have a head-start on us, so to speak.
The results today establish somewhat of a pecking order, but the time gaps are nothing really. We’ll race tomorrow like it’s a one day race and leave it all out on the road. There are time bonuses at the finish – 10”, 6” and 4” for first, second and third place. The race is still wide-open, and we’re ready to take advantage.