In Her Own Words: Loes Gunnewijk Previews Boels Holland Ladies Tour

Sun 1 Sep 2013

ORICA-AIS has just wrapped up the last World Cup of the season in France and now heads to Holland for the Boels Holland Ladies Tour. Dutchwoman Marianne Vos (Rabobank Liv/Giant) has dominated this race for the last four year. This year the multi-time defending champion will sit out the race in her build-up to the World Championships. In Vos' wake, another determined Dutchwoman, Loes Gunnewijk, has her sights set on the overall.

In her own words, Gunnewijk tells us about the Boels Ladies Tour.

First of all, the race is very similar to last year. The second, third and fourth stages are repeat stages we’ve done in the past. Despite the familiarity with these stages, it’s still six days of unpredictable racing in Holland – that means six days of being concentrated from the start line to the finish line every day. In Holland, we will have a big peloton on small roads and of course wind, so you never know where the move is going to happen.

The first stage may not look difficult on paper, but that is deceiving. Although the roads are mostly flat, we’ll face plenty of harsh cobbled sections that can catch people off guard. There’s one section in particular that we’ll see three times and it is quite short but extremely narrow and rough.

Stage two is the team time trial, which is very important for us. My goal is to go for GC, and we will need a good TTT to have any chance at a big overall result. If we don’t have a strong TTT, we’ll have to change our focus to stage wins instead.

Besides being important for the overall, this will be our last chance to race a TTT before the World Championships. We had solid TTT rides in Sweden and Belgium. We learned a few things that we will put to the test here. It’s crucial that we get everything dialled just right. Another solid TTT here will give us a lot of confidence before Worlds.

Most likely on stages three, four and five we’ll have a bunch sprint, but the outcome is easily influenced by the weather. If the wind is really blowing, we will have small breaks. The wind can tear the peloton to bits if it’s strong enough. On the other hand, if it’s a sunny day, it will be hard to break up the peloton to avoid anything but a bunch sprint.

The final day is the queen stage in Limburg, the host town of the 2012 World Championships. This is going to be a heavy day full of typical Dutch climbs. Making the stage especially difficult will be the Cauberg and the Eyserbosweg, which we will climb a couple times each. Between possible winds and these difficult climbs, the whole classification could change on the last day.

Personally, I think I can do well at this tour. I was in really good form in the spring and at nationals, and I’m coming good again now. My form started coming around already at Thuringen where I got the nickname ‘motorbike’. Emma [Johansson] was in the lead then, so I worked really hard for her. In Sweden, I was in a really long breakaway and felt good about my race. Then again at Lotto I had a strong solo move on the last day, which Nettie [Edmondson] eventually won.. With the form that I have right now, I am looking forward to this race and the month of September to line up a good end to the season.

ORICA-AIS for Boels Ladies Tour:

Annette Edmondson
Amanda Spratt
Gracie Elvin
Melissa Hoskins
Loes Gunnewijk
Shara Gillow