Johansson second but Roy out on stage four of Thuringen

Mon 20 Jul 2015

Stage four of the Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen was another mixed bag for ORICA-AIS.

Swedish champion Emma Johansson continued to get stronger following a crash earlier in the race, and managed to pick up second place on the intermediate sprints and in the final, each time behind Lotta Lepisto (Bigla Pro Cycling).

Unfortunately a nasty crash saw the withdrawal of Sarah Roy from the race as she was sent to hospital to have a nasty gash on her knee treated.

Sport director Martin Barras provides an update:

Today’s fourth stage of the 2015 Thuringen Rundfahrt saw the peloton race around the town of Zeulenroda.

This race has been a perennial fixture of the Tour and is renowned for sending the bunch up the famed “Hankaberg”, a 1.2 km hill named after local cycling legend and former world champion Hanka Kupfernagel.

It is also the location of the Amy Gillett Memorial and the 116km race started with a slow procession to the memorial where a short ceremony was held to mark the 10th year since Amy’s passing.

The race itself was a bit of a surprise.

For us, after a magnificent stage win from Gracie Elvin the day before, we were keen to capitalise on further opportunities, as well as take advantage of the numerous time bonifications on offer throughout the stage t see if we could build a time buffer for Emma leading into Wednesday queen stage in Schleiz.

It turns out that Bigla was very keen to play the bonification game as well and their concerted effort negated any possibility of a significant break getting up the road.

This approach worked for them as Lotta Lepisto won all intermediate sprints, as well as the stage, every time in front of Emma. This allowed Lepisto to pass Emma in third place on general classification, whilst Emma lunged past Karol-ann Canuel (Velocio-SRAM) in fourth place.

I would nearly described today as a good stage for us, as the team had a strong presence and was very disciplined and ultimately, got what we wanted.

But Lady Luck threw an uppercut as well and we lost Sarah Roy to a nasty crash that left her with a gaping wound on her right knee. She will be out of action for a couple of weeks, which sounds bad until you consider the original diagnostic was a broken patella, which would have been a very serious injury.

Today we have another transition stage and then on Wednesday we go into the proper Thuringian hills for a day of climbing fun.

Until then.

Martin Barras.