Johansson wraps up Euskal Emakumeen Bira with a second winSun 14 Jun 2015
Swedish champion Emma Johansson has wrapped up a successful Euskal Emakumeen Bira winning the final stage, her second for the Tour, today.
Johansson narrowly edged out overall winner Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Rabobank-Liv Woman’s Cycling Team) for final spoils to finish the five-day race with two wins, third overall and as the winner of the points classification.
ORICA-AIS also boasted Katrin Garfoot (5th) and Amanda Spratt (9th) in the top ten overall, four stage podium places and the overall best team classification.
“It’s really nice after a hard spring to come here for six days of racing and come home with three victories,” Johansson said of her success at Euskal Emakumeen Bira and Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria.
“I gave it a crack today, I knew I needed to make a gap to be able to take the general classification but Niewiadoma has been glued to my wheel all week.
“But to have the team riding so strong is really nice too and it’s always special for me to race here as well.”
Despite going into the final day with ambitions for overall, the victory capped off an incredibly successful week for Johansson and the team.
“It was great way to cap off a good race,” sport director Gene Bates said.
“We went into the stage trying to win the overall, that was our first goal. We always knew it was going to be difficult because Rabobank were never going to give up without a fight.
“The girls put everything they had into it and tried to get up the road. Amanda Spratt was in a couple of strong moves, but they had the legs to bring it back together.”
The final stage featured two climbs. As the peloton approached the first at 40km, it was still together.
Despite no serious attacks it strung out and several groups formed on the descent.
Seven leaders then formed at the front of the race with Spratt amongst them. They got out to 30seconds advantage but with a late final climb pending, the race was back together with a little under 20km remaining.
A series of attacks were launched at the foot of the final climb with 10km to go. Six riders broke clear, one dropping off by the top of the climb to make a lead group of five.
Johansson and Niewiadoma finished a second clear of their counterparts to secure the stage win and overall victory respectively.
Bates praised the improvement of the whole team after a slow start to the season.
“The fact we are getting results and consistently, we are really seeing a big shift since the break in May and camp,” Bates said.
“The girls are riding a big wave of confidence and they expect to be in the front now where as prior to that it was a real struggle to get people up the road.
“Now everyone has really stepped up and we have multiple riders who can win races. We are going from strength to strength.”