Melissa Hoskins Podiums at Ronde van GelderlandSun 20 Apr 2014
Melissa Hoskins sprinted her way onto her first European podium of the season at Ronde van Gelderland. One of four ORICA-AIS riders to make the front group, Hoskins enjoyed a strong show of support from her teammates en route to her third place finish. Kirsten Wild (Giant Shimano) took the win ahead of Jolien d’Hoore (Lotto Belisol).
“We’re all really happy with the way we rode as a team,” said Hoskins. “We were always together, always at the front and always communicating. I think a major source of frustration last week during Energiewacht was that we struggled a little bit with positioning and communication. Today was definitely a step in the right direction and the main positive to come out of today.”
The race was a stressful affair from start to finish with six hills, narrow roads, high winds and the usual assortment of road furniture as obstacles. From the gun the race repeatedly split and regrouped with no breakaway group ever earning clearance to secure a sizeable gap. With all six climbs featuring in the first half of the 138 kilometre race, the Australian outfit planned to race conservatively in the hills before throwing down the gauntlet over flatter roads.
“From the start, our objective was to ride well as a team, stay close together and get over the hills as a group,” Hoskins explained. “We intended to be aggressive after the hills, and we hoped we had the numbers to really make an impact. In the end, we had four in the finale.”
“In hindsight, I think we all wish we had raced more aggressively,” Hoskins admitted. “Rabobank was super aggressive today. We were always able to respond, but I think we wish we had done more initiating.”
In the final hour of racing, an elite front group took shape. Twenty riders made the selection including Hoskins, Emma Johansson, Gracie Elvin and Loes Gunnewijk. Hoskins saved her legs for the sprint as her teammates chased down the repeated break attempts that underscored an animated finale.
“We had a representative in every single move,” Hoskins said. “My teammates covered absolutely everything – and everything was a lot today. Attacks were going right, left and centre. They covered them all.”
“No one wanted to take Wild to the line,” Hoskins added. “The problem was that she was in all the moves, too. In the end, it came down to the bunch sprint.”
Hoskins was the third rider out of the final corner, and the third rider across the line.
“That last corner at 200 metres was pretty decisive,” said Hoskins. “We knew that how we went in would be how we would finish. I was on Jolien’s wheel. Jolien was on Kirsten’s wheel. And that’s how we went across the line: Kirsten, Jolien, me.”
“Today was a bit of a confidence boost for me,” Hoskins added. “It’s been awhile for me between podiums – my last was in Qatar. Today was a matter of backing myself and taking on board the confidence that comes from my teammates backing me as well. Loes was brilliant looking after me, and the rest of the girls were really great, too. When they put their trust in me, I always want to pay them back with a result.”