Another top five finish for ORICA-AIS in Route de France

Mon 8 Aug 2016

Yesterday’s second place finisher Sarah Roy just missed out on another podium spot today, finishing in fifth place on the first road stage of Route de France. 

ORICA-AIS worked well together keeping general classification contender Tayler Wiles out of trouble, before setting up Roy in the reduced sprint finish which eventually concluded the 136kilometre stage.

“Today was lumpier than we thought and the wind really picked up,” explained sport director Gene Bates. “The first part of the race there were different breakaway attempts which we were well represented in.”

“Coming into the finish there were some pretty steep climbs and the peloton reduced down to a small group of around 20-30riders. Jenelle Crooks punctured at the base of probably the steepest climb which was really unfortunate for her.

“We had two riders, Roy and Wiles left in the front group coming into the finish and it was quite a hard uphill sprint in the end.

“Overall today we were close to the win again, but as a group we aren’t satisfied with fourth or fifth we want to win, so we will look to fight on tomorrow. Tomorrow’s another day and another good opportunity for us.” 

How it happened:

The riders departed from St Quentin ahead of the first road stage coming in at 134kilometres. After ORICA-AIS’ success in the prologue with Roy finishing second, the Australian outfit remained confident and motivated. 

The first half of the race was active but, with no successful breakaways gaining an advantage, the peloton stayed in tact as light rain began to fall.

It was after 50kilometres of racing that a sizeable group were given some freedom. Ten riders launched away from the peloton and maintained a gap of 30seconds before being reeled back in just ten kilometres later. 

Directly after the escapees returned, Jip Van Den Bos (Parkhotel-Valley) counter attacked and was able to gain a 45second advantage as the peloton stalled behind. For the next significant number of kilometres Van Den Bos opened up her advantage to one minute and 30seconds, but with still a long way to go.

With the course being predominantly flat, the peloton appeared happy to leave the solo rider dangling out front before beginning the chase slowly, reeling her back in with the time gap decreasing gradually to 50seconds as they passed the 40kilometres to go mark. Eventually the solo leader was swallowed up by the chasing peloton as teams set themselves up for the finish.

With some fairly short sharp climbs in the final the peloton significantly split up leaving a group of around 30riders left at the front including Roy and Wiles.

Roy was ORICA-AIS’ highest place finisher just missing out on another podium spot by finishing in fifth place, but remaining second on the general classification with six stages to go.

Route de France stage 1 results:

1. Eugenia Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana)
2. Floortje Mackaij (Liv-Plantur) ST
3. Amy Pieters (Wiggle-High5) ST
5. Sarah Roy (ORICA-AIS) ST

General classification after stage 1: (tbc)

1. Amy Pieters (Wiggle-High5) ST
2. Sarah Roy (ORICA-AIS) ST
3. Floortje Mackaij (Liv-Plantur) ST