ORICA-AIS Back in Action in Holland and Belgium

Thu 23 May 2013

Riding a high after a glorious win at the Tour of Chongming Island, the women of ORICA-AIS head back to the notoriously blustery countries of Holland and Belgium for three one day races. The women will travel to Holland for the two opening days of racing - the Boels Rental Hills Classic and the Rabobank 7-Dorpenomloop Aalburg. The third day of racing takes place in Belgium at the Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik.

Formerly known as the Holland Hills Classic, the first race now takes on the name Boels Rental Hills Classic after the new race sponsor. The race route in 2013 will change slightly, but the course will retain several key features such as the Valkenburg and Cauberg climbs.

“The race start and finish is in Sittard – the same town where the team time trial started at the World Championships last year,” said  Loes Gunnevijk. “The course for Boels is similar to an Amstel Gold type race where there are a lot of short, steep climbs. Many of the climbs are known from other races, the most well-known being the Cauberg which was the main climb of last year’s World Championships road race.”

“The race will be hard,” Gunnewijk continued. “This is the south of Holland where we expect a lot of climbs, turning and street furniture. It’s going to be hectic, for sure, but I am looking forward to it.”

Day two takes the women’s peloton to Aalburg, a hometown race for Marianna Vos (Rabobank Liv/Giant) who now lives in the nearby town of Meeuwen. The race is 121 kilometres of pan flat racing, but the wind and street furniture will make this race anything but easy.

“We will first encounter three laps of 28.1 kilometres followed by three finishing laps of 11.3 kilometres,” explained Gunnewijk. “It’s pretty open in these parts so we can expect wind to play a factor.”

The final day of racing brings the peloton to Gooik, Belgium where riders will do one large lap and then seven finishing laps for a total of 133.1 kilometres. Within the opening lap, riders will race for mountains points over four climbs. The finishing circuit is mostly flat with some smaller climbs that will sting the legs with repetition.

“Day three is part of the Lotto Cup,” noted Gunnewijk. “In the opening lap we will face some climbs, and the finishing circuit is essentially a flat lap around the city. Although the run in to the finish line is slightly uphill, there is nothing too technical or difficult within the final laps.”

“Overall, Friday is a more hilly course,” Gunnewijk added. “We’ll look to the climbers first, but we have many cards that we can play. Maybe an early break stays away or a small group arrives at the finish together. However the race unfolds, we have more riders than most teams that could win the race. All three races are equal targets. We have riders for every race.”

ORICA-AIS roster for Boels Rental Hills Classic, Rabobank 7-Dorpenomloop Aalburg and Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik:

Amanda Spratt [@amandaspratt]
Emma Johansson [@emmaprocyclist)
Gracie Elvin [@gracieelvin]
Loes Gunnewijk [@loesgunnewijk]
Melissa Hoskins [@melissamhoskins]
Tiffany Cromwell [@tiffanycromwell]