ORICA-AIS animate slippery La CourseSun 26 Jul 2015
ORICA-AIS has animated the second edition of La Course by Le Tour de France on a wet and windy afternoon in Paris.
The Australian outfit launched a number of threatening moves, including a solo effort by recent Thuringen Rudfahrt stage winner Gracie Elvin and immediate counter attack by GP Cham-Hagendorn winner Lizzie Williams.
On a day that saw the majority of the peloton hit the deck on the slippery cobbles of the Champs Elysees, Swedish champion Emma Johansson recovered from a crash and a flat to finish seventh. Anna Van der Breggen (Rabobank-Liv) held on from a late solo move to win just ahead of a chasing reduced peloton.
“That was crazy, it was like being on an ice rink,” Johansson said. “You could not touch your brakes, it was just so slippery.”
“I felt like I was racing on the back foot all day. I went down in the first crash, then I had a flat and then there was a crash in front of me as I tried to get back.
“The girls raced really aggressively which was nice to see. After the chase I couldn’t really contribute too much so I just tried to recover and see what I could do towards the end.”
Keen to make an impact on the dramatical stage of the Champs Elysees in Paris, sport director Martin Barras was pleased the team was able to deliver.
“We were praying for rain before the race, we got that and then some,” Barras said. “We had three or four crashes, I stopped counting the punctures, and a couple of breakaways to it’s been a pretty full day.”
“We wanted to make sure we presented a very positive race, we certainly did that.
“We always knew if it came down to a bunch sprint, which was in all likeliness, that it was not going to be kind to us and the results reflect that. Therefore it was a matter of making sure we play other cards and I feel very strongly that we have done that today.”
With just 62 finishers, few made it through unscathed, but thankfully ORICA-AIS managed to get through without serious injury despite all six riders crashing at some point.
“We came out reasonably well,” Barras said. “We only have a mild concussion which I think is better than a lot of teams out there.”
“We still had five girls left in the bunch at the finish and that is down to positioning. The girls did a good job with positioning and in circumstances like this that is always important.
“We knew tougher conditions would be an asset for us today, we didn’t get the results but we will be doing it all again next week.”