In His Own Words: Dave McPartland on Erpe-Mere

Sun 5 Aug 2012

ORICA-AIS fielded an all Australian squad for the first time this season at Erpe-Mere. Tiffany Cromwell, Rowena Fry, Jessie MacLean, Alexis Rhodes and Amanda Spratt contested the single day Belgian race, and Sports Director Dave McPartland checked in to tell you about it.

It wasn’t our best day. I won’t sugar coat it for you. We started the day at somewhat of a disadvantage fielding only five riders, and our five were not at full strength. Spratty is just coming out of the Olympics, and it’s been clear that Row is a bit cooked at the moment. I knew I would need to look to Alex, Tiff and Jessie to do the main bulk of the work today.

We started out somewhat okay. Row knew she would have a hard time making it through the day, so I asked her to help the girls early on – and she was able to do that. While we’re typically the main aggressors in most races, we knew we couldn’t take that role today. We decided we’d sit back and play any cards we had on the finish circuit.

Other teams repeatedly sent riders up the road, usually solo or in a small group. This wasn’t entirely unexpected, but it certainly put us on the back foot. The girls stayed calm and focused on the final. The finish circuit didn’t present the opportunity for Alex to attack as we had hoped.

We had lost Tiff and Spratty at this point, and it just Al and Jess for the finish. Jessie has quicker final kick, so Alex decided to set her up for the sprint. Alex put Jessie in a good position, but she did it quite early. At the one kilometer mark, Jessie was isolated and she got swamped. She didn’t have the legs to negotiate the finish alone that far out from the line. Jessie hasn’t had many personal opportunities this season, so I really hoped she could get a result for herself. It just wasn’t meant to be today.

We knew today would be difficult because we lacked full-strength. We did the best we could with what we had. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to be competitive. Adrie Visser (Skil-Argos) won the race ahead of Lisbet De Vocht (Rabobank Women) and Janneke Kanis (Skil-Argos). Jessie came across the line in 25th place.