In His Own Words: Sport Director Martin Barras on EnergieWacht Tour Stage 5

Mon 8 Apr 2013

Sungeun Gu rode herself onto her first professional podium on the final day of racing at the EnergieWacht Tour. The first female professional rider from South Korea put herself into an escape group that formed after the first intermediate sprint. The seven riders would stay away until the finish and ultimately allow Loes Gunnewijk to maintain her overall podium position. In his own words, Sport Director Martin Barras describes the race-ending stage.

It was a double second for ORICA-AIS on the fifth stage of the EnergieWacht Tour.

The final day of racing proved to be another fine day for our team. Stage five took place on a fast urban circuit across Groningen. To protect Loes’ second place on the GC [general classification], we wanted breaks to get up the road to take away the remaining bonus seconds from Kirsten Wild (Argos-Shimano), who started the day in third place.

As the bunch was still reeling from yesterday’s brutal stage, we anticipated that an early break with a good composition of non-GC riders could get away and stay away all day. Clearly, a few other teams shared this thought, which made for a fast and aggressive start. As no one was satisfied with the composition of the various breaks being formed, the fast pace continued for nearly one hour, meaning a full bunch showed up for the first bonus sprint.

This was obviously the exact opposite of what we had hoped to see from the race situation at this point, and sure enough, Wild won the 3” bonus. Much to her credit, Loes pulled a sprint out of the bag and managed third to take 1”. After the first intermediate sprint, Loes’ advantage on the overall was down to 1’ and things were not looking good for us. 

Our fortunes turned when first Ruth Winder (USA) and then a small break of seven riders, including Sungeun Gu, split from the exhausted bunch. The move was the perfect mix of teams and riders. After the move established a small gap, there was a short tense period as the teams that missed out on the break were seen gauging one another about a chase, but eventually the white flag was raised and the break extended their advantage beyond reach.

The move secured Loes’ second place, and with the overall sorted, we were now left with the task of directing our Korean recruit to her first professional win.

Sungeun is very quick but she is obviously less experienced than her rivals. We were confident in her ability in a group sprint, but ultimately Valentina Carretta (MCipollini – Giordana) was too clever. She went solo seven kilometres from the finish. The ensuing cat and mouse game at the back meant Sungeun raced for, and won, second.

All in all, we had a great week in northern Holland (well, if you like near zero temperature, that is!) and are now looking at six days of recovery, and then the Ronde van Gelderland next weekend.

Thanks for following along with us this week! For all of you that submitted entries into our contest, Gracie Elvin will randomly draw a winner tomorrow and the new owner of an ORICA-AIS signed jersey will be announced and notified on Tuesday.

Click here to view video footage from stage five on RLTV.