In His Own Words: DS Dave McPartland on Holland Ladies Tour Stage SixSun 8 Sep 2013
The berg-heavy final stage of the Boels Rental Holland Ladies Tour promised a general classification shake-up, and the course delivered. An early break of two riders swelled to included 14 riders by the pointy end of the race. The escape group attacked itself over the climbs until Tatiana Guderzo (MCipollini Giordana) and Annemiek Van Vleuten (Rabobank Liv/Giant) emerged from the group to battle for the stage win. It was a photo finish for the two-up sprint. Guderzo narrowly edged Van Vleuten out for the victory.
Ellen van Dijk represented Specialized-lululemon in the chase group and secured the overall victory on home turf. Van Dijk beat out Van Vleuten, in second on general classification, by 1’05. Elizabeth Armitstead rounded out the overall podium at 1’11.
ORICA-AIS had a difficult day in the office. Unable to respond to the constant attacks, the team missed the break that produced the winning move. In his own words, Sport Director Dave McPartland shares his assessment of the final day of racing and the week as a whole.
I could sugarcoat things for you, but we tend to be a bit more honest than that around here. I don’t want to sound too harsh about our day or our week, but this wasn’t our best showing and I won’t pretend that it’s something it was not.
I expected us to have a better day today. Unfortunately, it seemed as if everyone picked the same day to have bad legs. Shara [Gillow] was probably the best of the lot, but she punctured at a bad time – just as she was going across the front group. She was the only rider we had in any striking distance of the business point of the race, and the mechanical took her out of contention. The rest of the girls couldn’t do much today.
We had hoped for rain and wind. We had planned to be aggressive. Weather wasn’t a factor today, and we weren’t ever the ones animating the stage. The day was reasonably dry. It looked like it would rain the whole time but never did. There wasn’t much wind today; there wasn’t much wind all week. It was more the really, really narrow roads and repeated short, sharp climbs that decided the race. The course essentially used the same roads as the Amstel Gold Race.
Mel [Hoskins] lost the best young rider’s jersey, and we tumbled out of the overall classification. Loes [Gunnewijk] was our top finisher on stage six over nine minutes behind Guderzo. Loes finished as our best placed on the overall as well in 16th place, 9’52 behind Van Dijk. Needless to say, this wasn’t what we were aiming from when we started the race on Tuesday. We had definitely hoped for more.
It’s a funny time of year. The girls were just on some really good form, and I’m convinced that they can find better condition from here. We’ve had some really, really great results as a team in these last few months, so there’s no need to get overly discouraged. I think the general assessment is that everyone needs to go home and rest up a bit. We only have two races left – Toscana and the World Championships – and we're determined to go out on a high note.