Johansson third and ORICA-AIS ready to strike on day two of BeNe Ladies TourSat 19 Jul 2014
Swedish champion Emma Johansson has continued her strong form, finishing third on the first stage of the BeNe Ladies Tour this afternoon.
Johansson, who also gathered important bonus seconds on the intermediate sprints, will go into tomorrow’s final day in third position overall.
Teammate Loes Gunnewijk, also picking up bonus seconds, is one step behind her in fourth overall.
“Our plan was to get some seconds in the intermediate sprints,” sport director Gene Bates said.
“This is going to be a race of seconds with the short time trial and another flat road stage tomorrow afternoon.
“Emma (Johansson) was second on both the intermediate sprints and Loes (Gunnewijk) third in the second one so that got us a couple of seconds.”
The team went into the Tour looking to be aggressive and in the final two 20km circuits of the stage worked to break up the lead group.
“It was a really hot day and we knew the wind was going to play a factor in the race,” sport director Gene Bates said.
“The girls took a bit of a back seat initially to wait to see how strong the wind would be. After about 35km they really rode aggressive and that is when an initial group of 16 went away.
“Then the plan was to try and be as aggressive as possible on the final circuits and try to force a smaller breakaway from that front group of 20.
“The girls had a really good crack at it and tried to get something to stick until the finish but Lotto and Giant Shimano were keen on keeping it together for a small sprint finish and that is what happened.”
Bates was confident of the team’s position after the first day with three cards to play tomorrow when the Tour wraps up with a 9.6km time trial and second road stage.
“It was a good result for Emma but also a really good start for the team in what is a small Tour,” Bates said.
“We positioned ourselves really well leading into tomorrow’s time trial and we will see how we come out of that.
“Emma, Loes and Shara (Gillow) are in a great position to strike for an overall victory.
“All three have been national time trial champions in their relevant countries so it’s going to be an exciting race tomorrow morning.”