In His Own Words: DS Dave McPartland on Holland Ladies Tour Stage One

Tue 3 Sep 2013

The opening stage of the Boels Rental Holland Ladies Tour ended in a bunch sprint won by Kirstin Wild (Argos Shimano) Although the Dutch super sprinter edged out Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) for the stage victory, Armitstead pulled on the first leader’s jersey by virtue of bonus seconds she earned at the intermediate sprints and on the finish line. Trixi Worrack (Specialized-lululemon) rounded out the stage podium ahead of Nettie Edmondson in fourth and Melissa Hoskins in fifth.

Sport Director Dave McPartland believes an unfortunate miscommunication cost his riders a podium position on the opening stage. In his own words, he details the day below.

The race essentially consisted of a bunch of different circuit laps that mostly covered the same roads but in different combinations. It was a typical Dutch sort of race with changes in direction every couple of kilometres. We had cobble sections, pavé through small towns, a section of dirt road and all the usual road furniture. All had their influence on the race although it ended in a bunch kick in the end.

The girls rode really well today. They were cognizant of the need to be well-positioned at pretty much every moment of the race, and I was happy to see most of them at the front of the bunch all day. Time bonuses come into play in this race, and Loes Gunnewijk managed to snag herself three bonus seconds over the two intermediate sprints. There were gaps at the finish, and she lost 6” there, so the bonuses were ultimately cancelled out in terms of her general classification ambitions. Still – it was a good effort.

The race split a few times. There was a group of ten that formed over the gravel road, and we had Loes and Mel in that. Spratty [Amanda Spratt] and Gracie [Elvin] rejoined the front bunch when it swelled to 40 riders. Eventually, the first two groups combined, and we had all six of the girls back together.

The plan today had been to ride for Nettie in the sprint. She’s coming off good results at the Lotto Belisol Tour, including a win on the final day of racing. However, during the final hour of racing, Loes noticed that Nettie had been having some trouble making her way to the front of the pack. With 30km still to race, Loes made the call that the team would sprint for Mel.

It doesn’t happen very often that Loes makes a change in plans on the road like that, but as the road captain, she has the authority to make that sort of decision and communicate it to her teammates. We’re lucky to have the luxury of two sprinters in the team, which gave Loes the option of making that decision in the first place. Unfortunately, without race radios, Loes was unable to communicate the change in plan directly to each of her teammates.

In the end, neither Nettie nor Shara [Gillow] were aware that the plan had changed. Nettie came to the front 2km from the finish, expecting that she would sprint. In the end, both Nettie and Mel sprinted but neither was sprinting for the other. It was an absolute muck-up. The girls were lucky to run fourth and fifth, but we could have had a much better result had things better coordinated.

With her fourth place finish, Nettie earned the best young rider’s jersey, so she’ll wear that tomorrow when we line up for the team time trial. We’re all excited about stage two. We’ve made good progress over the last few weeks. The girls know each other better and are a lot more comfortable doing what they need to do to achieve the sort of result we’re know we’re capable of achieving. We think we can close the gap to Rabobank and Specialized-lululemon even more tomorrow, which is what we need to do to challenge for gold in the team time trial at the World Championships later this month.