Fourth place for Garfoot after a strong performance from ORICA-AIS in Dwars door de Westhoek

Sun 24 Apr 2016

Santos Tour Down Under winner Katrin Garfoot  sprinted to fourth place in today's UCI 1.1 category race Dwars door de Westhoek. 

The 34-year-old found herself in the race winning move which formed in the final 20kilometres of the 127.5kilometre race.

Trying hard to get away solo attack in the final kilometres, the Australian time trail champion was unable to establish a gap in a race that ended in an inevitable group dash for the line.

The breakaway group of nine sprinted across the cobbles with Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans) proving to be the fastest taking the race honours.

"I had some pretty hard moments today," explained Garfoot after the race. "I had a hard chase back on after a mechanical, so I am pretty glad to actually finish that well today."

"I wouldn't have made it back on after my first wheel change if it wasn't for Tayler Wiles. She really helped me a lot to get back on and it was also great to have Loren Rowney over the climbs when the splits happened. We were working really well together all day."

Sport director Gene Bates also praised the ORICA-AIS teamwork along with Garfoot's individual efforts today, as they worked well to overcome mechanicals and crashes.

"It really was an excellent ride by the girls today," Bates said. "We had super bad luck again today with two riders crashing at an important moment in the race and then Kat had a puncture during another important section of the race." 

"We managed to get three girls in the front group which was great, then there was lots of attacking in the final and that's how Kat got away.  

"We always knew it would be hard for her to win in a sprint so she tried in the final to go solo. Kat put in some absolute ripper attacks but unfortunately she kept getting dragged back.  

"Overall it was a really positive ride by Kat and all the team, they all did everything they could."

How it happened:

Unpleasant wet and chilly conditions awaited the teams as they rolled off from the start/finish line in Boezinge. After a challenging day in Holland yesterday, many of the same riders pinned their numbers on ready for another day in the saddle which brought a mixture of tired and fresh legs to the race.

It wasn't long before the race split up due to the rainy weather and crosswinds and around 30 riders jumped clear including Rowney, Wiles and Garfoot for ORICA-AIS.

As the leaders advanced towards the first ascent of the Rodenberg, Garfoot was caught out with a puncture. To her relief teammates Wiles was present to help with her chase back on in what was a tough moment as Marianna Vos (Rabo-Liv) lifted the pace up the climb causing a split in the front group. 

With three finishing laps of 11kilometres left to tackle, including a short cobble section across the finish line, the group continued to attack and be brought back together with the ORICA-AIS representation doing a good job of staying in contention following each dangerous move. 

With 20kilometres to go Garfoot once again was present at the front of the race finding herself in a strong move with eight favourites riding out to a one minute 30second advantage.

One by one riders attacked with Garfoot biding her time until two kilometres to go launching off the wheel for a final solo attempt. The attentive leaders were quick to respond and reeled her in as they started the cobble road up to the finish line. 

Majerus claimed the victory in a chaotic sprint which also saw Vos crash in the closing metres. Garfoot finished the day in solid fourth place after a challenging day for all. 

ORICA-AIS race again next weekend at Elsy Jacobs three-day tour starting Friday 29th April. 

Dwars door de Westhoek results:

1. Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans) 3:24:38
2. Elena Cecchini (Canyon-Sram) ST
3. Emma Johansson (Wiggle-High5) ST
4. Katrin Garfoot (ORICA-AIS) ST