In His Own Words: Dave McPartland on Thüringen Rundfahrt Stage 5

Sun 5 Aug 2012

The penultimate stage of Thüringen Rundfahrt followed a similar pattern shared by the others. The day began with a big loop and ended with laps on a finish circuit. An escape group of 15 riders went away early, and we put Amanda Spratt in the move. There were two riders in the top ten overall up the road – Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products – Mistral Home) and Olga Zabelinskaya (RusVelo).

I asked Amanda to sit in the move and see how far the gap would grow. Back in the bunch, we bid our time as we waited to see how other teams might react. Eventually the break’s advantage went out to three minutes. Longo Borghini and Zabelinskaya were considerable threats to Judith’s lead at that point, so we had to drive the chase. I went up to the break and told Spratt that we needed her to drop back to the field.

The whole team took to the front to lead the chase. Thirty kilometers from the finish, they had pegged back the move to one minute. We spent the entire team, except for Claudia Häusler, in the process.

Longo Borghini attacked the break and went on to take the stage solo. Claudia, who was able to start today despite the strange incident with her shoulder yesterday, looked after Judith on the final circuit. They were part of a group of 25 riders to come to the line 1:11 down on Longo Borghini.

The day went pretty well according to plan. We had wanted a break to form early in the stage, so that we wouldn’t have to worry about defending Judith’s lead at the intermediate sprints where bonus points are up for grabs. Judith only leads Trixi Worrack by five seconds. Emma Johansson is nine seconds back. Both are crafty riders, and we didn’t want to give them the chance for the extra time. We only needed to let three up the road to gobble up all the bonus seconds, so it ended up being a larger group than we would have liked. That was the only thing that wasn’t quite right about the day. That said, the girls did a good job controlling in the bunch.

The race ends tomorrow with four laps over a hard 21 kilometer circuit. The race organization considers the final stage to be the queen stage, so the overall win is far from a sure thing. We’re eager to defend the jersey one last day.