Fractions of a second prove vital again in Alberta team time trial

Wed 2 Sep 2015

ORICA-GreenEDGE has felt the pain of another agonisingly close team time trial at the Tour of Alberta, settling for second place, once again by a margin of less than one-second.

As defending champions, the Australian outfit rolled down the ramp as the final team to start, aiming to dethrone Trek Factory Racing who held the previous best time of 22minutes 57seconds.

Bora Argon, directly ahead of them on the road, started strong before fading slightly but the strong squad still managed to post the fastest intermediate splits.

At the end of the 19.6km course, ORICA-GreenEDGE fell just 0.74 of a second short of an opening victory, on a day they described as not going to plan.

“The plan was ride through to the finish with as many guys as possible,” sport director Dave McPartland said. “We have most of our core team time trial squad here so we wanted to use the race as preparation for the world championships and we also have general classification ambitions with Adam Yates and Christian Meier as another card up our sleeve.”

“Everything was going to plan until just before the mid-way point. We had the fastest time by six-seconds at the first time split and at the second it was 16seconds so we were well and truly on a good time.

“Then there was a slightly technical section and there was a few errors that caused splits in the team and from that point on we were on the back foot a little bit.

“We were down to five riders, which was a surprise to everyone, with about five kilometre to go and from then on the guys knuckled down and brought it home quite well, even though we’d lost a heap of time.”

Regardless of the disappointment of such a close call, the outfit goes into the road stages in a strong position for their primary goal of the week – a general classification result with Yates.

“The biggest priority of the week was to come in and try to ride general classification and we are still in a really good position for that,” McPartland said.

“Adam sits on the same time as the leader and behind the top two teams there is a little bit of a gap so we are still well on track.”

As the team time trial event continues to produce results with next to nothing separating the top finishers, ORICA-GreenEDGE has experienced their fair share of both scenarios.

McPartland said the latest pain would provide provide some fire for the core time trial squad that will race at the world championships in the coming weeks.

The Tour of Alberta road stages start tomorrow with a 171.6km battle around the County of Grand Prairie.