In His Own Words: Martin Barras on EnergieWacht Tour Stage 3bSat 6 Apr 2013
The second of two stages on the EnergieWacht Tour double day came down to a bunch sprint. It had been a scenario ORICA-AIS had been hoping to avoid after the morning time trial shook out the overall classification. Sport Director Martin Barras checked in after a long day in Holland to tell you how the stage unfolded.
After a satisfactory morning time trial stage that saw us place three riders in the top ten, the afternoon road stage proved to be a worst case race scenario for ORICA-AIS. The time trial established that a podium finish overall appeared to be the most likely scenario for Loes [Gunnewijk] due to the large number lululemons sitting high on GC [general classification].
With Kirsten Wild (Argos-Shimano), by far the best sprinter here thus far, starting the stage only 23” down on Loes on GC, our objective was very clear. Either we could split the race up and separate Loes from Wild or allow a break to get up the road to swallow all the bonifications.
The stage was held on a flat 13 kilometre circuit that went up and down either sides of a canal. It was fast, and we either rode straight into a headwind or had a strong tailwind. Neither was especially useful in allowed a break to get up the road.
The race was tightly controlled, and this meant we showed up all together for the only bonification sprint of the day. We had to organise a lead out for Loes, and although it got a bit messy, we were good enough to get Loes into second behind Wild. This limited our time loss to 1”.
Ultimately, a group of four non-GC riders got away with 16 kilometres to go. Whilst we were delighted with that development, many teams were not. It was disappointing when the other sprinters’ teams joined Wild’s Argos-Shimano team to chase down the break with five kilometres to go. At that point, our team missed a great opportunity to send our non-GC riders down the road, which meant the race ended in a bunch sprint convincingly won by Wild.
Nettie Edmondson was our best placed rider in fourth place, which meant that Wild put 10” into Loes at the finish and 11” into her in total.
Tomorrow we face a do or die situation: either we are successful in finding some combination of riders to get up the road and put pressure on Wild or we’ll be looking at the prospect of another Wild parade down the finishing straight!