Knowledge and experience gives ORICA-AIS confidence heading into Boels-Rental Hills Classic

Tue 24 May 2016

ORICA-AIS return to Holland for the 13th edition of the Boels-Rental Hills Classic well prepared with an experienced team line up.

The team previously won the race back in 2013 with Swedish rider Emma Johansson and will head to the start line this year with Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten who won the 2012 edition, giving the Australian outfit extra confidence heading back to the race.

Loes Gunnewijk, a former ORICA-AIS rider, continues her successful transition into the role of a sport director, becoming a valuable asset to the team.

Having raced the Boels-Rental Hills Classic herself numerous times, this direct wealth of knowledge and experience is something the ORICA-AIS team are grateful to have going into such a demanding one-day race.

"I am looking forward to being the sport director for this race as I have raced here lots so I know the race really well," Gunnewijk explained. "The race has a lot of climbing in it and we expect it will be really tough from the word go." 

"It's in the south of Holland around the same area as the Amstel Gold Race and the 2012 UCI Road World Championships and includes two times up the Cauberg, so good positioning is so important. It will be a really hard race as always.

"The riders we have, have shown they are very strong at this moment which gives us a few different options. They've just had a really good training camp in Tuscany and are so they're really motivated to be back racing now."

Continuing to impress on the short punchy climbs is Santos Tour Down Under winner Katrin Garfoot who rejoins the team having missing last weekend's race due to a training crash. Now rested and ready to race, the 34-year-old knows the course well after finding herself in the breakaway during last year's event. 

Joining Garfoot, Australian champion Amanda Spratt is looking to make an impact on the race, being a rider suited to this type of undulating course.

27-year-old Gracie Elvin is an essential part of the team line up this weekend. Having won the challenging Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik race in 2015, she has proven to hit top form during this part of the season favouring these one-day Dutch classics. 

Completing the six-rider squad is Australian Sarah Roy, fresh from a podium place at the recent race in Swiss, along with youngster Alexandra Manly who has been rapidly finding her feet in these tough elite races.

"The team we have for this race are well suited to this type of course," continued Gunnewijk. "They are really motivated to continue their positive start to the second half of the season following on from Sarah's podium finish on Sunday."

"It's really a race that is important to save a lot of energy, it's Holland so it's going to be narrow and there's a lot of turns. The team is good at this and I think it will be at the half way point where we will see a lot of action and the best riders left at the front in the final." 

The Boels-Rental Hills Classic is categorised as a UCI 1.1 race, covering 131.4kilometres and will take place this Friday 27th May.

ORICA-AIS riders Boels-Rental Hills Classic (27th May):

Gracie Elvin (AUS, ACT, 27) 
Katrin Garfoot (AUS, QLD, 34) 
Alexandra Manly (AUS, WA, 19)
Sarah Roy (AUS, NSW, 29) 
Amanda Spratt (AUS, NSW, 28)
Annemiek van Vleuten (NED, 33)