In His Own Words: Martin Barras on EnergieWacht Tour Stage 1Thu 4 Apr 2013
ORICA-AIS had prepared for an action-packed, tactical showdown at the first European stage race of the season. Stage one of the EnergieWacht Tour did not disappoint. It was an attacking race from the gun with repeated splits and constant reshuffling. By stage end, road captain Loes Gunnewijk, racing on home soil, put herself in the race winning four rider move. Gunnewijk finished fourth in the four-up sprint and earned the most aggressive prize. In his own words, Sport Director Martin Barras describes the day.
Today’s stage was interesting in many good and not so good ways. We expected Loes to showcase her experience today, and she did exactly that. She won ‘most aggressive rider’ after putting herself in every significant split – and there were many today.
This was particularly commendable because today’s race was stopped by a train and a boat, sent the wrong way and stopped due to rider protest on the finish circuit with one lap left to race. Remember we’re racing in Holland. There are many canals, and canals mean we can run into a raised bridge. That’s exactly what happened today – after we ran into the train and before we were directed off course. With all these disruptions, Loes’ performance is very impressive.
Gracie Elvin also made the front group. She proved really efficient today. I’ve been happy to see her progression during her first professional season.
Rabobank and Lululemon were really good at getting numbers up at the front whenever the race split. They made good use of this tactic. This is generally something we’re well-known for as well. Ultimately, it was not our strength today.
In the end, the race came down to one final break of four riders. Loes was joined by Iris Slappendel (Rabobank Women), Ellen Van Dijk (Specialized-lululemon) and Kirsten Wild (Argos Shimano). All four of these riders are possible overall winners here. Wild went on to win the four-up sprint to take the stage and the leader’s jersey.
We view the race winning move as indication of who means business here more than anything decisive for the overall. Wild is starting a campaign that will see her accumulate time bonuses ahead of the time trial where she is expected to lose some time to Loes and Ellen.
Most importantly, we have yet to see riders like Anna Van Der Breggen (Sengers Ladies Team), Annemiek Van Vleuten (Rabobank Women), Lizzie Armitstead and Adrie Visser (both of Boels Dolmans) and Trixi Worrack (Specialized-lululemon) make a decisive move towards GC [general classification], so there is still plenty of good racing to come. High winds are predicted for the next few days, which will make for fertile terrain for a few exciting attacks.
Our number one priority is to keep Loes competitive until the time trial on Friday morning and see if we can swallow a few bonus seconds away from the opposition.