In His Own Words: Sport Director Dave McPartland on Padova

Sun 17 Mar 2013

Fielding a team of four instead of the maximum allotment of six riders, ORICA-AIS lined up for Classica Citta di Padova without a protected race leader. Sport Director Dave McPartland saw the Italian one day race as an opportunity to give each of his four starters a chance for personal glory after illness left his team with decreased numbers. In his own words, he describes the day.

We had to pull Nettie [Edmondson] and Spratty [Amanda Spratt] from the line-up. Several of the girls have been battling illness this week, and I didn’t want them to dig themselves into a hole at this point in the season. Rather than replacing them, we started with four riders – Mel [Melissa Hoskins], Jess [Jessie MacLean], Shara [Gillow] and [Sungeun] Gu.

I considered today an opportunity for all of the girls. We certainly weren’t going to bank on Mel. She’s just coming back from her break after Track Worlds – and that break was interrupted because of a cold. We expected her to be a bit behind in her preparation for the start of her road season, so it didn’t make sense to have the whole team looking after her. We asked her to look after herself during the race. If she got herself to the finish in reasonable condition, we’d look after her there.

Today could have been a good day for Jess to actually put her nose out there and chase a result for herself. If Mel had been in top form, Jessie would have worked for her. Shara and Gu were asked to go on the offensive. If they had been able to go down the road, they could look to get a result from a small group. They both tried, but the race was so fast the whole time, it was pretty impossible to get away.

The race was run over roads with lots of traffic islands and traffic furniture. There were 130 starters with lots of variation in terms of skills and fitness from top level to bottom level. These two factors naturally kept the race flying really fast with a constant rotation at the front as everyone attempted to stay out of trouble. There were several attacks off the front but nothing that really seemed to get away.

Noemi Cantele (BePink) finally managed to get down the road in a solo move. She got about 20 seconds before the bunch brought her back. She went again one lap later and brought a teammate with her. They built up a slightly bigger gap, but this move was brought back, too. Those were the only two significant attacks of the day. We waited on other teams to chase both times. It wasn’t our responsibility to do anything. From what I could see, the race wasn’t controlled by any one team and neither was the chase.

The race was left to a sprint in the end, which is what we had expected. We looked to Mel and Jessie. They did what they could, but I don’t think they cracked the top twenty. Wiggle Honda’s Giorgia Bronzini took the win ahead of Trixi Worrack (Specialized-lululemon) and Marta Tagliaferro (MCipollini Giordana).

It was a good hit out for Mel in her first race back. Our biggest positive is that we got through the day without any incident or major drama, and we have Mel on board and back racing with us. It was good for her that today was a flat race, but I know it was no walk in the park for her either. She was pretty fatigued at the finish.

Emma [Johansson] races tomorrow with the Swedish National Team at Cholet Pays de Loire Dames, and we’ll have brief updates for you on how she goes there. The team is back for the next round of World Cup racing on Sunday. We hope to have everyone over illness and back at full strength by the time we line up for at Trofeo Alfredo Binda.