ORICA-AIS earned the silver medal in the team time trial at the Road World Championships on Sunday. Crossing the finish line in Valkenberg in 46:55:82, the Australian outfit averaged a blistering pace of 43.72 kilometers/hour.
“The girls turned themselves inside out riding at the speed required to win, and we were still beaten,” said Sports Director Martin Barras. “We were initially and remain a bit deflated but are also very proud of the effort we left on the road. Silver is a mixed bag. We knew what we waned and what we had to do to get it.”
2011 Time Trial World Champion Judith Arndt led Melissa Hoskins, Loes Gunnewijk, Linda Villumsen, Alex Rhodes and Shara Gillow off of the start line in Sittard. At the first checkpoint, less than a second separated ORICA-AIS from eventual winners Specialized-lululemon. The gap between the gold and silver medalists would grow to 24 seconds over 34.2 kilometers before the finish. AA Drink – leontien.nl, in bronze, finished 1:35 behind ORICA-AIS.
“Our technique was great today,” said Barras. “We had a great pacing plan, and all the girls knew what to do in all circumstances.”
While the team rose to every challenge they faced, Barras noted luck may not have been on their side.
“Loes crashed in the Holland Ladies Tour,” noted Barras. “Bruising her ribs a bit more than a week before her final prep was not optimal. She needed a local anesthetic before the start. That being said, we could only win with her in the line-up so were always going to back her.”
It is the first time in 18 years that the team time trial has returned to the World Championships. Last raced as an event contested by nations, the discipline was turned over to trade teams this year.
“We put together the best race possible as a tribute to Alexis Rhodes and Judith Arndt, our teammates for whom this was their last professional race,” said Barras. “I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank them both for a wonderful first season with ORICA-AIS. It has been a real privilege to work as a team towards a World Championship.”