In His Own Words: Dave McPartland on Vargarda World Cup

Mon 20 Aug 2012

ORICA-AIS put two riders in the top-ten at the Vargarda World Cup on Sunday. Tiffany Cromwell and Linda Villumsen were part of a 12-rider group that formed on the third of 12 11-kilometer circuit laps. The group fragmented during the final three laps with Cromwell eventually ending up in the second group on the road and Villumsen in group three. Cromwell posted the best result for the Australian outfit in seventh place. Villumsen rounded out the top-ten. Sports Director Dave McPartland describes the day. 

Rabobank led a series of aggressive attacks with Iris Slappendal forcing the formation of the initial breakaway when she gained a good gap on lap three. Hanka Kupfernagel (RusVelo) gave chase and eventually Tiff made it across with four or five other riders. Marianne Vos (Rabobank) bridged up the next lap, and Linda hitched a ride along with three more girls. It was a strong group of 12 that included representation from nearly much every big team, so the field didn’t have much of a chance.

The group worked well together for six laps. With three laps left to race, Slappendal attacked. Tiff and Linda tried to go across, but they couldn’t get clear. All the other rides had the same idea. It was clearly everybody’s idea that they arrive at the finish in a smaller group. Nobody was very happy ton contest the finish with a group the size of the original break.

Emma Johansson (Hitec Products – Minstral Homes) attacked on the substantial hill included on each lap, and Vos followed the move. Those two got a gap over the climb. From there, the main group of 12 was whittled down to nine with Slappendal solo out front, Johansson and Vos chasing, and then the nine behind. Then nine soon split into two groups. Tiff was in the first group of four and Linda was in the second group of five. Eventually, Tiff’s group caught Vos and Johansson. The group, now six in size, picked up Slappendal and swelled to include seven riders. Linda’s group never caught back on, so the seven rode together out front until the last lap.

Slappendal managed to get away again in the last lap, and Hanka bridged up to her. We missed out on the move. Johansson and Vos once again went away on the climb. Tiff didn’t have the legs to match their effort, which ended up being okay because they caught the duo across the top of the climb. It was seven kilometers from the top of the hill to the finish, and Tiff’s group of five remained intact with Slappendal and Kupfernagel steadily building their gap ahead. They crossed the finish line with more than a minute on the next group as Slappendal took her first World Cup win.

Tiff did a smart think, I reckon. She was quiet during the last five kilometers, sitting on the back and biding her time. She attacked in the underpass, with 500-600 meters left to race. Unfortunately, Vos chased her down.  Tiff’s aggressive move put her out of contention for the sprint for third, but it was a good attempt. She would have finished on the podium if she had pulled it off, and she knew it was a risk she needed to take if she wanted to finish third. Tiff ended up in seventh, last of the riders in her group, and while it wasn’t exactly the result we had wanted, it was a super effort. Linda came in with the next group to take tenth.

The rest of the girls enjoyed a day off in the bunch. Once the move was gone, they didn’t have much to do other than rest their legs in case things came back together before the finish.