In His Own Words: Sport Director Martin Barras on Toscana Prologue

Wed 11 Sep 2013

The final stage race of the season for ORICA-AIS began with a late night prologue. Tiffany Cromwell and Emma Johansson rode into the top ten.  Cromwell was 6” behind stage winner Marianne Vos (Rabobank Liv/Giant), slotting into fifth place. Johansson rounded out the top ten, 8” off the race lead. In his own words, Sport Director Martin Barras walks you through the stage.

I swore I wasn’t going to get upset at any point this week.

The Italians have a way with races and organisation that is rather unique. When I first started coming here, years ago, this used to make me mad. I suspect there was a direct correlation between my receding hairline and time spent at Italian races in the early days.

I have to say – now, I really enjoy Italian races. No parking, water or electricity at the hotel? No problem! The cops keep coming over to threaten towing our vehicles away? Let’s laugh as we watch them argue with the hotel manager. The race meeting lasts a world record breaking 83 minutes? Well, I can claim I was there and lived this historical moment.

In the end, an entertaining race is always worthwhile.

Tonight (and I do mean night; the last rider just came in at 10h25) was a technical hot dog shaped course that challenged both speed and skills. It's one of those courses where, try what may, you are ultimately managing your mistakes and keeping the gas down.

Tiff did well and managed fifth whilst Emma got tenth. Both could point out as soon as they came in where they could have done better, but really, their rides reinforce they are ready for the real stuff that starts tomorrow.

Conversely, Rabobank, with winner Marianne Vos and second place Annemiek Van Vleuten (and the whole team in the top 15), knows that whilst they did a fantastic team result tonight, it might mean little come Sunday. The business in Toscana is climbing, and the hills will determine the winner here.

Story of the day goes to stagiaire Amy Cure, who despite her best preparation efforts ended up changing helmets six minutes before her start, stuffed up all her gear changes as she was using an electronic bike for the first time and then followed the opening motor bike into the deviation instead of the finish area. Welcome to the big leagues, kiddos. Chin up, tomorrow will go better.