Loes Gunnewijk Animates Final Stage of Energiewacht TourSun 13 Apr 2014
Loes Gunnewijk came agonizingly close to securing her first European win of the season. The ORICA-AIS road captain took charge of the final stage of the Energiewacht Tour. When the race split apart from the gun, she made the elite selection alongside teammates Mel Hoskins and Gracie Elvin. When an eight rider group broke away from the frontrunners, Gunnewijk was there.
Unhappy with the lack of collaboration in the escape, Gunnewijk attacked in the crosswinds each time the peloton made their way around the seven lap circuit. She slipped away solo on the last lap. With the finish in sight and lactic acid coming out of her ears, Gunnewijk made one final push to the line. She was so close she could taste victory. Then, compatriot Chantal Blaak (Specialized-lululemon) overtook Gunnewijk in the final 200 metres. Gunnewijk settled for second.
“I have already given everything,” said Gunnewijk. “I could give nothing more. There was nothing left in the body. I know I have to be satisfied, but I’m still a little bit disappointed to be passed at the end like that.”
“The legs today were better than yesterday,” Gunnewijk added. “Also for the head, it’s nice to race today like this and finish up the tour with good legs. I’m motivated for the next races, and I became stronger from this race. I needed it.”
Elvin wrapped up the week in ninth place overall. The Australian National Road Champion rode a consistent race, twice finishing in the top ten. The leader’s jersey changed hands three times over the five day, six stage tour, ultimately ending on the back of Lucinda Brand (Rabobank-Liv). Elvin finished 1’21 down on the Dutchwomen.
“We had some good moments and some not so good moments during the week,” said Sport Director Gene Bates. “Today was one of our best days of racing. It was not only a fantastic result for Loes but also for the team. We’re much stronger as a whole after this race. To finish off the tour on a high note is really good for us going into the next couple of races – especially Flèche Wallonne.”