Jessie MacLean Most Aggressive, Gracie Elvin Ninth on EnergieWacht Tour Stage Two

Thu 10 Apr 2014

Jessie MacLean was voted the most aggressive rider on the second stage of the Energiewacht Tour following a solo move on the third of three circuit laps. MacLean spent 20 kilometres time trialing her way toward the finish before she rejoined the peloton just outside the final ten kilometres. Back in the bunch, MacLean crashed out of contention before the sprint.

Left to fend for herself in the finale, Elvin managed ninth in the reduced bunch kick won by Kirsten Wild (Giant-Shimano). It is the second straight win for the Dutchwomen in her home country tour. Elvin remains the best placed rider for ORICA-AIS on the general classification in eighth place, 25” down on Wild in the overall lead, ahead of tomorrow’s double day.

Jessie MacLean  - Most Aggressive

 The race was constantly splitting and coming back together. All day long there were general regroupings. We were definitely caught on the back foot during the first lap today. When things split up during the technical section for the first time, Loes [Gunnewijk], Mel [Hoskins], Gracie and I were in the first chase group behind the leaders. That wasn’t a good situation for us.

Luckily we chased back on, and we were much more alert in the last two laps – on the front and more aggressive. It wasn’t the best start, but we remedied the situation pretty quickly. We wanted to be active on the last lap to put other teams under pressure and see if we could split things up further.

I attacked going into the most technical section of the circuit over the narrow roads and pave in Bourtagne. There was around 30 kilometres left to race at the point. I got out to maybe 1’15 at the most, and I was caught about 12 kilometres from the finish.

Originally the idea was to keep Gracie and Mel as fresh as possible for the finish with the plan being that Mel would help Gracie out when she could. By the time I was back in the bunch, things had split again, and only Gracie and I were left. I helped out where I could but I crashed and Gracie was isolated.

We had hoped for more wind today. A windy day would have given us more opportunities to break up the race, and it would made the day harder in general. Instead, it was only a light breeze. Hopefully we have more wind to play with tomorrow. It’s our best chance to put the other teams in the hurt box.

Gracie Elvin – ORICA-AIS Top Finisher

The bunch split and joined back together every lap. The back section of the course had a cobbled section that strung us out, and then there was an open crosswind section directly after that. When we hit the headwind section, things would come back together.

Jessie attacked on the last lap, and that was a good move for us. When she was up the road, the group had split again after the cobble section and in the crosswinds. When she came back, I looked at who was there and saw that it was just me and Jessie, so I told her: “Awesome job! But now you have to look after me as much as you can.” She did well to stay near the front and protect me.

I jumped on the wheels of a couple of attacks, one from Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) and one from van Dijk (Bols Dolmans) in the last few kilometres. All the late race moves were neutralised. After that, I heard a bad crash behind me and wasn’t sure who it was, but I knew I didn’t have Jessie with me anymore.

I sat in and was swamped by riders coming into the last kilometre. I dug deep and went around the outside of the bunch with a few hundred metres to go. I stood up once while the others jumped, but I had to sit down pretty quickly when my legs told me how tired they were. I was passed by a few riders in the last hundred metres and could only hold on for ninth place.

I was happy with my ride, but I had to use more energy than I would have liked today to make it back to the front group in the first lap after the first split and again when I was attacking with Loes coming into the bonification sprint. My legs weren’t fresh at all for the final. I felt fit and strong, but it’s hard to play the sprint game against the likes of Giant Shimano and Boels Dolmans.

Tomorrow is a hard day with two stages. We haven’t had our meeting yet, but it will be more of the same in the morning – good positioning and finding every opportunity to put other teams on the back foot. We have the team time trial in the afternoon, and hopefully we can all take back some time there. We’re excited and confident for the first team time trial in a race after our recent team camp focusing on the discipline.