Johansson finishes in chase group at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad-vrouwenSat 28 Feb 2015
Swedish champion Emma Johansson has finished amongst the chase group in the opening European race of the season, the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad-vrouwen, today.
Johansson was given 14th position behind Anna van der Breggen (Rabobank-Liv Woman Cycling Team), who won from a two-rider breakaway.
Remaining together after the first climb of the day, the peloton split in half over the second.
Shortly after, on the Cote de Trieu, 13 riders worked off the front, Johansson and Gracie Elvin representing ORICA-AIS amongst them. They were joined by a small chase to make a strong 30-rider lead group.
Sport director Gene Bates said the team was ready for the critical stage of the race, but limited numbers in the split made for a difficult day out front.
“We knew the Cote de Trieu climb would be critical as it is every year,” Bates said. “Then leading into the Paterberg you really need to have soldiers in the front and we either didn’t have the legs or got caught behind and that really limited our numbers.”
“Boels were on a mission and really took the race by the reins and drove that front group because they had so many riders in it.
“Once the girls missed that initial split is was really difficult to crawl back up to it.”
Van Der Breggen then escaped alongside Eleonora Van Dijk (Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team) and, having maneuvered the day’s climbs and cobbles, the pair entered the final 25km with an advantage of 45seconds to the chase group.
With their teams strongly represented amongst the chase, there was little support in closing the gap, which extended by the finish line.
“Gracie did some really good work in the front group covering moves for Emma but wore herself out by the real business end of the race,” Bates said.
“Emma put on a brave face and really had a crack. She was on the front trying to split it up to bring the two back but she really didn’t find any allies in the front group and when the others decided to start working it was too late.
“Not a super day for the team but I think everyone is going to have a really good review and look forward to Wednesday’s race to have another shot at it.”