Judith Ardnt leapfrogged to third overall on the final stage of the Brainwash Ladies Tour. The German was part of a ten-rider move that formed after Linda Villumsen launched an early solo attack.
“When we looked at the situation last night and discussed our strategy in the meeting this morning, we realized that the race looked very promising for Marianne Vos [Rabobank Women],” said Sports Director Martin Barras. “She is the best climber here in Holland. To have an impact on the race, we needed to try something different in an attempt to beat her.”
ORICA-AIS decided to apply what Barras called ‘a slightly risky tactic’ and race as if Vos was the team’s sole competition.
“We wanted to isolate Vos from her team,” explained Barras. “Once we separated her from her teammates, we planned to put pressure on her on the flatter parts of the course. This would be how we would force Vos to work and seemed like our best chance to beat her on a course that was tailor made to her talents.”
Villumsen attacked over one of the categorized climbs on course. Vos jumped to respond and eventually a group of ten riders that included both Villumsen and Arndt formed.
“This was part of our strategy to race only against Vos,” noted Barras. “We hoped other teams would partake in the same approach.”
Over the Cauberg, Vos powered away from the front group with Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products – Mistral Homes) on her wheel. Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) bridged across to the duo, and the three leaders worked together to stretch their advantage.
In the three-up sprint, Vos won the stage and moved into the race lead. Stevens took second on the stage to finish second overall. Arndt finished behind the lead trio and rounded out the overall podium.
“We gave it a fair go, but it didn’t pan out for us as we had hoped,” admitted Barras. “Vos showed that she is the strongest bike rider in this race. We’re happy to have Judith move to third place overall. More importantly, we raced for the win, and we’ll apply what did and didn’t work when looking for other solutions in the future.”