Gracie Elvin Retains Ninth Overall After Energiewacht Tour Stage FourSat 12 Apr 2014
Following the penultimate day of racing in Northern Holland, ORICA-AIS’ Gracie Elvin retains her hold on ninth overall at the Energiewacht Tour. The Australian National Road Champion was part of a 16 rider chase group that finished 1’09 behind solo stage winner Lucinda Brand (Rabobank-Liv). With her stage win, Brand assumes the yellow jersey from overnight leader Vera Koedooder (Bigla).
Brand attacked from a breakaway that took shape on the second of four circuit laps that started and finished in Uithuizen. Crosswinds split the peloton, and a leading group of 17 riders materialised.
“It was a real selection,” said Sport Director Gene Bates. “It wasn’t an attack so much as a really concerted effort to push the pace at the front. The group had about 30” through the finish line for the start of lap three.”
“The front group made it through a train crossing,” Bates continued. “Then, the arm came down and the bunch was stopped to wait for the train. By the time they got chasing again, the gap was well over a minute.”
“There was a promising chase effort by the teams that had missed the move,” Bates added. They got within 15” at one stage, and we thought it was all going to come back together. That’s when the pressure went back on in the breakaway, and the gap ballooned out again.”
The lone ORICA-AIS rider in the move, Elvin was forced to conserve her energy and allow other teams to do the chase work. Tiffany Cromwell (Specialized-lululemon) was the first rider to slip away from the breakaway. She stretched out her advantage to 40” before the chasers reeled her back into their fold.
Brand countered Cromwell’s catch. The Dutchwoman immediately gained 10”. Slowly but steadily Brand extended her advantage. Twenty kilometres from the finish, she had a minute on Elvin and company.
“Brand got a good gap straightaway,” said Bates. “It never looked like it was going to come back. She fairly easily held on all the way to the finish.”
“Gracie was by herself in the group,” Bates added. “She had to conserve and then lay all her cards on the table with an attack or two at the end because there were some really fast girls in that group."
“She had a couple good attempts, but unfortunately, it didn’t come off for her today,” Bates noted. “There were a lot of attacks when Brand was already gone. We really needed another rider or two today. That would have been perfect for us. It was unfortunate that the others missed it.”
Jolien d’Hoore (Lotto Belisol)led the chasers home a full minute behind Brand. Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) rounded out the stage podium. Elvin managed 14th place on stage four to protect her position on the overall, now 1’21 behind Brand.
“It will be pretty difficult for Gracie to climb up on the overall tomorrow,” said Bates. “It’s not impossible, especially considering what we’ve seen in the last couple days, but it’s not likely. We have a couple of cards to play tomorrow. We really want to get a good stage result, and if we can move Gracie up in the process, that would be fantastic.”