ORICA-AIS fourth in TTT on stage two double-header at Energiewacht Tour

Fri 10 Apr 2015

ORICA-AIS has finished fourth in the team time trial at Energiewacht Tour this morning, the first of the stage two double-header today.

Later, the second stage road race resulted in a bunch sprint with Lizzie Williams the team’s top finisher in 23rd position.

This morning kicked off with the 15.1km team time trial in De Onlanden, the first of the 2015 season.

Velocio-SRAM were the one’s to beat, dominating the discipline in the women’s peloton in recent years, but they again proved untouchable winning the stage by 14seconds to their nearest rivals in Boels Dolmans.

ORICA-AIS finished 34seconds down in a solid fourth position, but their morning was not without some drama as road captain Loes Gunnewijk noticed a slow leak in her rear wheel just ahead of the start requiring her to race on a road bike.

Despite the disruption the 34-year-old bravely rode on, assisting her teammates until the 11km mark when she dropped from the back.

“We knew with the layout of the Tour with the prologue on day one and team time trial on day three, that those two particular events would be quite important,” sport director Martin Barras said. “We came in fourth, which was the expectation going into the stage that a good ride would get us.”

“We suffered a bit of a mechanical at the very last minute with Loes which made it difficult for her and difficult for the team because she is one of our major players.

“But even regardless of those circumstances I was extremely pleased with the effort. Everybody pitched in. On the radio I was asking for different things from different riders and always got a good solid response from that.”

A group of four riders shaped this afternoon’s road stage, establishing a lead of just under a minute. They weren’t however given as much time as yesterday’s break to enjoy their stint in front, caught with 40km still left to ride.

The early catch allowed additional attempts to break up racing on a day where the famous Dutch wind was again no consideration in proceedings.

Lauren Hall (USA Cycling) went solo in one of the more threatening moves, gaining 30seconds on an active peloton, but it proved unsuccessful as the bullish peloton sucked her back in.

A series of turns, some reasonably sharp, contributed to small splits in the final as the head of the peloton approached the sprint with speed. Brand, in the end, a comfortable winner.

“I got some good efforts from Loes and Gracie (Elvin) in setting us up for the bunch sprint, but there is no doubt that at the end of the day we came a bit short,” Barras said.

Melissa Hoskins got lost in traffic and we didn’t register any particular result. It’s not particularly tragic, the fun starts tomorrow, it was just a chance for us to put that sprint train together and work on it.

“There is still some work to be done in that area but traditionally it’s never been an area of focus for us, we’ve been a team of attackers and breakaways.”