Nettie Edmondson Previews Ronde van GelderlandFri 12 Apr 2013
The Ronde van Gelderland began in 1957 as a men’s race and then turned women’s only in 2003. The Dutch one-day race features six climbs that characterize the first 41 kilometres of the race and then 98 kilometres of flat, windy roads leading to the start/finish in Apeldoorn. None of the climbs are extremely difficult - the steepest tops out at 4.4% gradient for just 0.9 kilometres and the longest is 3.3 kilometres with only a 2.3% gradient – but with each one coming in quick succession they will take a toll on some of the non-climbers.
The rest of the race may be flat, but don’t be fooled - the peloton will have to navigate infamous road furniture, strong winds and narrow roads along the way. Finishing on a flat, straight road into the finish will cause chaos in the field as each team pushes its way to the front of the bunch to line up its strongest sprinter for glory – assuming of course that a breakaway hasn’t snuck away prior to the finish.
Nettie Edmondson, highly experienced on the track but a relative newbie to European road racing, shares her talk on the race.
Q: You have just completed your first EnergieWacht Tour and will be lining up for Gelderland for the first time - what's it like being a first-timer at a big European race?
Though it's a little bit daunting lining up as a first-timer at big European races, I've been lucky enough to have dabbled in a few smaller-scale European races of a in 2011 and 2012, so I have a basic understanding of how they work. Each race is different however; the course, weather and riders all play a major role in how it may turn out. This is where my experienced teammates can really help me with my preparation. With riders on ORICA-AIS such as Loes Gunnewijk and Emma Johansson, who have years of experience racing in Europe, I’d be crazy not to listen to their advice!
Q: This will be your second race with the team and your first one day race - has it been a smooth transition from track to road and finding your place, so to speak, with the team?
The EnergieWacht Tour was a harsh welcome back to road racing for me. I remembered Dutch racing as being very hard, but had forgotten just how hard. I found I felt better and better each day, which was largely due to my confidence and positioning within the bunch. My teammates were great. They were very supportive and gave me many helpful tips, which helped me improve throughout the week. I'm very lucky to have been welcomed into such a positive team environment.
Q: Aside from training, how does the team typically prepare for a race?
Technical preparation for a race depends on the complexity of the race circuit. If there are difficult sections like cobbles, steep climbs or tight corners the team sometimes opts to do course reconnaissance of these sections. This usually means arriving a day earlier than planned. As Gelderland has a pretty straightforward course, we will prepare by thoroughly studying the course details as illustrated in the race guide, review important sections and discuss possible situations with those who have previously raced the circuit before.
Q: This race has come down to a field sprint several times in the past. What are the team’s strengths when it comes to the sprint and what will be your role?
Throughout 2012, ORICA-AIS had very successful results from their lead-out trains (usually with a final combination of Jessie MacLean and Melissa Hoskins). I am yet to work alongside Jessie and the team in a lead out train, but I have complete confidence in the girls' abilities if this is how Sunday pans out.
Q: Looking at the course profile and knowing the team's roster, is it likely that we'll see the team on the top step (or on the podium)?
The goal is to win. Always. We have a very strong team lining up this weekend. Each member is truly capable of doing just that - winning. There are six slight hills in the first 41 kilometres and then it's pan flat to the finish. Wind also has the ability to break up the race along Holland's open, narrow roads. Whether a small group can get away or it comes down to a bunch finish, I'll be looking to fulfil my team role to make sure one of us can make it onto that top step!
ORICA-AIS for Ronde van Gelderland: