ORICA-AIS have a stress free day to remain in contention after stage three of the Energiewacht Tour

Fri 8 Apr 2016

ORICA-AIS stayed out of trouble today to remain in general classification contention after stage three of the Energiewacht Tour.

A day with fairer weather and the absence of strong winds saw a breakaway of six riders open up a lead in the early stages of the race. They successfully stayed away until the finish line with Allie Dragoo (USA Cycling) taking the victory after attacking her breakaway companions in the closing kilometres.

Sport director Gene Bates was happy the team finished with no problems and the time trial riders could have an easier day before tomorrow's big focus.

"Nothing really changed today," explained Bates. "There was no wind at all so on a flat, non-technical course it's difficult to do anything." 

"With the time trial tomorrow it was good for the three time trial riders in the team. They were able to have an easy ride on what was the longest stage and save a bit for tomorrow. All the girls got through without any hiccups and Annemiek van Vleuten and Gracie Elvin remain up there on the general classification."

Tomorrow the race classification is likely to shake up with a short morning road stage of 75.4kilometres followed by a 13.6kilometre individual time trial in the afternoon. Australian time trial champion Katrin Garfoot will race in her national colours for the first time this season in a European race.

"It's all about tomorrow's double stage now," Bates said. "I think the girls can do really well in both stages and we have girls really focusing on the afternoon stage."

How it happened:

After yesterday's hard, windy stage the riders arrived in Musselkanaal for the start of stage three with the absence of strong winds and clear blue skies. The peloton headed off to complete one 27.9kilometres lap, followed by two 32.8kilometre laps and then three times round a 12.4kilometre finishing lap. 

It wasn't long before riders further down on the general classification tried their chances attacking in the hope of staying away all race. To begin with two riders gained a small advantage, hovering around the 20second mark until the peloton decided to reel them in. 

Straight afterwards six riders counter attacked and managed to open up their lead. Vera Koedooder (Park Hotel), Moniek Tenniglo (Rabo-Liv ), Julie Leth (Hitec-Products), Allie Dragoo (USA Cycling) and Gretchen Stumhofer (USA Cycling) worked cohesively and continued to open up their advantage. 

After a brutal stage the day before it appeared that the peloton was happy to let the leaders stay around the two minute mark. As the race advanced into the final lap of the day the six leaders still held on to their advantage, with no real threat for the general classification the breakaway successfully stayed away to the line. 

In the final kilometres of the race Koedooder attacked her breakaway companions but wasn't able to hold on to her lead, Dragoo countered over the top in the final kilometres and held on to take the stage victory.

ORICA-AIS riders finished safely in the bunch with Elvin the highest place finisher for the team coming in 18th place. 

Energiewacht stage three results:

1. Allie Dragoo (Team USA Twenty16) 3:20:53
2. Julie Leth (Hitec-Products) +0:02
3. Gretchen Stumhofer (Team USA) +0:17
18. Gracie Elvin (ORICA-AIS) +2:00

General classification after stage 3:

1. Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) 6:31:59
2. Ellen Van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) +0:06
3. Lisa Brennauer (Canyon-Sram) +0:11
6. Gracie Elvin (ORICA-AIS) +0:21