ORICA-AIS for Borsele and WesthoekThu 23 Apr 2015
After a pleasing performance by the entire team at Fleche Wallonne, the fourth world cup of 2015 yesterday, ORICA-AIS have already turned their attention to the next series of races – three one-day events beginning tomorrow.
Kicking off in Holland with a rare individual time trial opportunity the EPZ Omloop van Borsele continues with a ‘sister’ road race on Saturday before the action shifts to Belgium to conclude with Dwars door de Westhoek on Sunday.
Read our race previews for the treble below:
ORICA-AIS at EPZ Omloop van Borsele WE – Time Trial (24 April):
ORICA-AIS’ time trial specialists will hit the road the evening before the road race for their first chance to fine-tune their pet discipline in Europe.
The Australian outfit will field three starters in 2015 Oceania time trial champion Katrin Garfoot, Dutch road captain Loes Gunnewijk and 2014 junior world time trial champion Macey Stewart.
“It’s a stand alone time trial event, it’s not classed particularly high but it’s a good hit out for some of our time triallists early in the season,” sport director Gene Bates explained.
“There are not many stand-alone time trials throughout the season for those targeting the world and for up-and-coming riders such as Macey, it’s a good opportunity to have a senior hit out.”
The 19.9km course has a flat profile although can be made more difficult if the Dutch wind, which has been noticeably absent this season, picks up. Regardless, it’s untraditional short distance makes for a full high intensity effort.
“It a super quick circuit and it’s only 20km so they will just go flat out,” Bates said “Results wise we are unsure how we will go but that is why we are doing it, to see how we are going.”
“We have had some work done in the wind tunnel over the Australian summer and this will be the first time they have used those new positions in a race.
“The interesting one will be Macey. Having come up from the junior ranks, we are looking forward to seeing how she goes against the seniors.”
ORICA-AIS at EPZ Omloop van Borsele WE – Road Race (25 April):
A similarly flat profile to the time trial, the EPZ Omloop van Borsele road race is one that is likely to result in a larger bunch sprint. But in saying that, the action prior is anything but relaxing.
“It can do anything, this race,” Bates said.
“If there is wind, it dramatically changes the shape of the race. Narrow roads and lots of road furniture tend to make the early racing intense, with positioning and concentration key, but generally it comes down to a sprint.”
Track team pursuit world champion Melissa Hoskins boasts the fastest set of wheels in the ORICA-AIS outfit and will have the support of her teammates in the way of aggressive racing to put the team on the front foot during the 136.8km race and in the final sprint lead out.
“We have a really good team here,” Bates said. “Mel Hoskins is getting faster and stronger every race we do and we have girls coming into the team to support her and to try to get up the road and have an aggressive race.”
ORICA-AIS at Dwars door de Westhoek (26 April):
The final day of racing moves to neighbouring Belgium for Dwars door de Westhoek.
Unlike the previous Borsele profiles, Westhoek features a mid-race loop that will see the peloton negotiate a climb in Rodeberg on three occasions throughout the 136.8km day.
But with the climbing challenge set in the first half of racing and four laps of a flat finishing circuit to conclude, the opportunity for numbers to recover does exist.
“Westhoek traditionally ends in a more select group than the previous day,” Bates said.
“We have options for both scenarios. Emma Johansson and Amanda Spratt showed at Fleche Wallonne that they are climbing really well and then we have Loes Gunnewijk and Mel Hoskins again if it does end with the larger group contesting the final.”