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In His Own Words: DS Martin Barras Previews Upcoming Trio of Classics

Thu 29 May 2014

It's called a cycling season for a reason. It has its own rhythm and changes. Some of it incidental, but for the most part very predictable.

On Friday we start a trio of one day races in Holland and Belgium. First will be the Holland Hills Classic in Valkenburg. Now if I say Holland, usually this will conjure up images of six foot something blondes ripping apart the bunch over dijks and in the wind (come to think of it, this sounds like I am talking about Loes!).

Well, the Valkenburg race has no dijks, only a little bit of wind and clusters of short vicious climbs that will be liberally peppered throughout the day, including the infamous Cauberg. This being said, the aforementioned blondes will be there, and we will be reminded that they can also climb short vicious hills...

On Saturday we almost return to type with the Marianne Vos Classic, held in Aalburg, near Marianne's home. I say almost because although the race is pancake flat, windy and has got dijks, Marianne is not blonde or six feet tall, although someone clearly forgot to mention this to her that this is what epitomizes Dutch racing

Finally, on Sunday we have the Gooik Gerardsbergen Gooik classic, taking us through the beautiful hills of Flanders, including up the Kapelmuur in Gerardsbergen. It is always such a privilege to race in this area. This race presents it's own challenges. A long and hilly initial loop is followed by a flat finish which really mixes things up when the climbs have done their work.

We are coming out of a really good team time trial camp in Varese, and all of us feel refreshed and ready. We spent most of the week trying to convince ourselves that summer has finally arrived but, as is custom with the weather at this time of the year, we would get our hopes up after a couple of lovely days only to get our hopes dashed with a cool change. This phase of the cycling season is built up the same as the weather and after the spring classics, we heralded the arrival of the early seasons tour, which usually indicate that summer is just around the corner, only to return to classics racing for this weekend.  

Personally, as much as I look forward to a return to my favoured aggressive classic racing style, what I am really and anxiously waiting for is Spratty's return to racing. You might recall that at the height of spring at the Ronde Van Vlaanderen we had to leave Spratty by the roadside, all busted up after a nasty crash. We missed her in more ways than one but she is finally back, sporting the ugliest collarbone scar one can imagine but otherwise all smiles and cheer.

May this weekend be the beginning of her and our summer!

ORICA – AIS for Boels Rental Hills Classic:

Amanda Spratt
Annette Edmondson
Carlee Taylor
Emma Johansson
Gracie Elvin
Loes Gunnewijk

ORICA-AIS for Rabobank 7 – Dorpenomloop Aalburg

 Annette Edmondson
Carlee Taylor
Emma Johansson
Gracie Elvin
Jessie MacLean
Loes Gunnewijk

ORICA-AIS for Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik:

Amanda Spratt
Annette Edmondson
Carlee Taylor
Emma Johansson
Jessie MacLean
Loes Gunnewijk

 



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