Crash affects the final for ORICA-AIS in the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta

Sun 11 Sep 2016

23-year-old Jess Allen sprinted into 14th place for ORICA-AIS in today’s Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta after the team’s key sprinters Loren Rowney and Sarah Roy crashed with three kilometres to go.

The Australian outfit remained calm throughout the 87kilometre city centre race, protecting their sprinters and attentively covering key moves.

A breakaway of two riders led the race, before finally being swallowed up with just five kilometres to go as the sprinters team’s came to the fore.

Allenm the only rider in ORICA-AIS not drastically effect by the crash, contested the hectic sprint which was won by Jolien D’Hoore (Wiggle-High5). 

"The crash basically destroyed our leadout," explained sport director Gene Bates. "All the girls were effected in the crash as they were bunched together ready for the finish."

"This happens, it's unfortunate but that's racing. I guess the positive we can take from today is that all the girls were there together, lined up about to do the lead out.

"Thankfully they are all ok after the crash, Rowney came down the hardest and took quite a bit of skin off but nothing too serious."

How it happened:

Riders took to the start line in Madrid ahead of the final WorldTour race and the final European race for ORICA-AIS.

15 laps of a 5.8kilometre circuit awaited them with numerous tight hairpin bends and a wearing uphill drag to contend with each lap. 

ORICA-AIS arrived at the start brimming with confidence after performing well at the Boels Rental Ladies Tour recently where Roy won a stage and Rowney finished a close second.

With many of the riders in good form and motivated for the second half of the season in their build up to the world championships in Doha, a rapid pace was set from the word go. 

Some of the smaller teams with no key sprint riders animated the majority of the race continuously attacking and forcing the peloton into one line.  

Jenelle Crooks found herself in a move half way through the stage but with many big names present it was soon brought back like many previous attempts.

Gracie Elvin played a key role in jumping across to a move that looked like a real threat led by Boels-Dolmans and helped to neutralise it.

Unfortunately for the team, Rowney clipped another rider hitting the ground hard with three kilometres to go which also effected the rest of the team around her as they lined up closely alongside one another in preperation for the sprint. 

The race was left in the hands of youngster Allen, to try and find the best possible position and challenge the sprint. With no teammates around her and a late change of plan Allen finished in a respectable 14th place to round off the racing for the season.

Madrid Challenge results:

1. Jolien D’hoore (Wiggle-High5) 2:01
2. Chloe Hosking (Wiggle-High5) ST
3. Marta Bastianelli (Ale Cipollini) ST
14. Jess Allen (ORICA-AIS) ST

The race concludes a very successful 2016 season for the Australian outfit with numerous wins such as:

Sarah Roy - Stage at Boels Rental Ladies Tour

Annemiek Van Vleuten - Elsy Jacobs prologue

Gracie Elvin - Gooike-Geraardsbergen and Bay Crits

Katrin Garfoot - Stage at Ladies Tour of Qatar and Overall Santos Tour Down Under

Amanda Spratt - Stage at Thuringen Rundfahrt and Cadel Evans RR

Lizzie Williams - Stage at Santos Tour Down Under

Photos courtesy of Bart Hazen