ORICA-AIS look for stage wins after tough day at Giro Rosa

Sat 5 Jul 2014

It was a tough day on the road for ORICA-AIS in the first road stage of the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile with crashes and punctures playing havoc with the team’s general classification ambitions.

In what was an animated day of racing, the team suffered two crashes, including one involving Shara Gillow who was gunning for an overall result. 

“Unfortunately we had a bit of a shocker of a day,” sport director Gene Bates said.

“Amanda Spratt crashed on the decent about lap three or four. Shara crashed not long before her and then punctured when she was on her way back to the bunch. 

“Loes stopped to give her a wheel and they both chased back on but I think they spent a lot of energy getting back to the group.”

The 8.6km circuit proved more difficult than expected, taking a toll on the entire peloton. 

“By the half way point the peloton was splitting from the back,” Bates said.

“With a one kilometer steep climb, eleven times, I really don’t think anyone thought it was going to be as difficult as it was. The heat and the technicality of the course was really taxing.”

Bates said the team would support Emma Johansson who finished in the second group on the road today, but the team would now put more emphasis on individual stage opportunities. 

“A bit of a disappointing day for us in some respects because we lost Shara in terms of our biggest GC hope, but we still have Emma in the thick of it,” Bates said.

“Our focus will turn more toward stage wins now.”

“Tomorrow should suit Mel really well. She has come here for the prologue and the bunch sprints so we will be looking to support her there.  From there we will just go stage by stage and take the opportunities as they arise.

Earlier in the day Valentina Scandolara was amongst the thick of the action, making the first attack of the stage.  The Italian got away, spent some time alone at the front before she was joined by a group of six or seven riders who would eventually be caught.

Marianne Vos (RBW) won the stage in convincing fashion ahead of Elisa Longo Borghini (HIT) and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (RBW).