Emma Johannson Earns Another Podium at Trofeo Alfredo Binda

Mon 25 Mar 2013

Emma Johansson rode herself onto the second step of the podium today at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda. Amanda Spratt finished two spots back, in fourth, after having spent much of the race off the front with her lone breakaway companion and eventual race winner, Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products UCK). Round two of the World Cup series was held in rain soaked, bone chilling conditions.

“During the first lap of 50 kilometres, we didn’t plan to do much at all,” explained Dave McPartland. “There were 160 starters in very wet conditions, so the main priority was to stay safe near the front of the race. We wanted to start attacking during the final laps of the finishing circuit. While other teams might wait for Vos  [Marianne] (Rabo Women) to dictate, it’s not our style to wait for her or anyone else to take control of the race.”

The attacks began at the end of the large opening lap, and Shara [Gillow] found herself up the road in a small group of evenly matched riders.

“We were happy to let that break go for as long as possible,” said McPartland. “Their gap hovered around one minute before it was brought back on the first of the four finishing laps. Spratty [Amanda Spratt] attacked twice and found herself up the road with Elisa on her second attempt.”

“At the top of the climb, with 2.5 kilometres to go, I saw an opportunity to attack because I know the roads well,” explained Spratt. “I knew I could go full speed down the descent. Elisa came across to me then and it was just the two of us. I worked with her but didn’t do equal work because I had strong teammates behind ready to go if the break came back.

“When Elisa attacked me on the climb I wasn’t able to hold her wheel,” Spratt continued. “I tried to close the gap but was stuck between Elisa and the chasing peloton. Even though I wasn’t with Elisa it was still a good situation for the team because it forced Rabobank and Specialized-lululemon to work. I concentrated on putting power into the pedals to stay away and force other teams to work as long as possible.”

While Spratty dug deeper and deeper to keep the peloton at bay, the fireworks had started in the chasing peloton.

“There was a lot of attacking towards the end,” said Johansson. “Specialized-lululemon wanted to collect something. Lisa Brennauer (Specialized-lululemon) was away and Ellen [Van Dijk] (Specialized-lululemon) jumped after Lisa was brought back. I realised that this was a threat because Ellen had been going so strong lately. I tried to get across and I just made it to her at the top of the climb. We could see Spratty on the descent. I didn’t realise until then that she wasn’t with Elisa.”

“I could see Emma and Ellen coming across,” added Spratt. “Emma wasn’t doing any work as Ellen was on the front trying to catch me on the descent. I kept going full gas knowing Ellen would have to do all the work to catch me.”

With three kilometres left to race, Johansson and Van Dijk joined Spratt, and it was game on in the closing kilometres to fend off the Specialized-lululemon rider. Longo Borghini’s gap was too big to make contact with her so the break of three knew they would be sprinting for second.

“Spratty and I tried to jump Ellen,” described Johansson. “We worked really well together. The focus was only on second. There wasn’t a chance we were going to catch Elisa even if the three of us had worked perfectly together. I was happy that we had two to one, but I had really wanted Spratty to stay away. She deserved the podium place after all the work she did."

“Obviously we always want to try to get a win,” continued Johansson. “It was a good move from Spratty, but Elisa is going strong. She’s really good on the climbs. Another podium place in the World Cup – I think it’s good. When you’re not winning, you need to accept it. Elisa had a strong race.”

Spratt exuded excitement when she looked back on today’s race and much confidence for the team going into next weekend’s World Cup in Belgium.

“This is my best result in a World Cup,” she said. “I’m really happy. We followed our plan. The team is really happy with how we raced. We always had numbers up there. We’re all racing really well. We are in good shape for our next big race at Tour of Flanders next week.”

“The team was bloody brilliant today,” added McPartland. “I’m really proud of the way they attacked this race.”