In Her Own Words: Jessie MacLean Previews Lotto Belisol TourThu 22 Aug 2013
ORICA-AIS make their next stop in Belgium for the Lotto Belisol Tour. In 2013 the tour expands to four stages from the three it hosted in 2012.
The Belgian tour starts with a bang as teams must get into technical mode for the stage one team time trial. The next two stages lend themselves to fast and aggressive racing over fairly flat roads. The fourth stage features climbs and cobbles that will naturally string out the field and potentially reduce the bunch for the finish.
In her own words, Jessie MacLean tells us about what the team expects out of the Lotto Belisol Tour.
The first stage is an important one for us since we are still finalising our roster of six for the Team Time Trial World Championships The team time trial at Lotto Belisol Tour allows us another opportunity to practice the discipline, and because most of our races don’t include a TTT, we approach each chance looking to learn and improve. We are racing with a different combination of riders here in Belgium than the riders we brought to Sweden in part to help Macca [Dave McPartland] chose the team for Worlds.
Although the first stage is important, I wouldn’t place the same weight on it as the Sweden World Cup TTT. In saying that, we still have to get the process right. If we implement the lessons we learned in Sweden and have a good ride as a team, I think we’ll be happy even if we don’t get the end result we’re hoping for because we’ll see forward progress.
Stage two is a circuit race that is pretty flat. There may be some open sections where we can get crosswinds to make it more difficult. I think it could be like a typical kermesse race – short laps and fast. Usually as a team we race aggressively to get a small bunch up the road, but we will have a couple sprinters here so on this stage we can also back it up for a sprint.
Stage three is flatter than stage two. We’d be keen to unleash our sprint train. When we get the opportunity, it’s good and it’s fun. We could see the lead-outs battle to determine the stage winner here.
Stage four will be the toughest stage. It’s the same course as stage three from last year. It’s as tough as the profile looks. There’s a hard hill that we tackle four times in total and there lots of cobbles thrown in there, too. The finish is hard – it’s halfway up the climb a couple hundred metres. The rest of the course is rolling. Taken together, this course is conducive to aggressive racing.
Overall, the start list is much stronger this year. There are more teams and stronger riders. With the inclusion of one more stage and the TTT, it is more enticing for teams to race. Just like us, other teams need the TTT practice, too.
ORICA-AIS for Lotto Belisol Tour: