ORICA-AIS storm to third place in the team time trial on stage one of Energiewacht TourWed 6 Apr 2016
ORICA-AIS showcased their team time trial abilities this evening by blasting around the 11.3km course to finish third on stage one of the Energiewacht Tour.
The Australian outfit stopped the clock in a time of 14minutes 30seconds, just one second shy of second place set by the Canyon-SRAM racing team. Boels-Dolmans took the race honours finishing with a time of 14minutes nine seconds.
Today's stage marked the first team time trial race of the 2016 season and sport director Gene Bates was pleased with how the girls performed, having lined up without any specific team time trial preparation.
"The girls rode really great considering they've had no preparation at all except from racing in the classics," Bates said. "They did their first team time trial session this morning and they gelled really well together, so we are all pleased with tonight's performance."
"It was raining right up until 15minutes before we started so the roads were still really wet and it was quite technical the start and the finish of the course.
"The middle part of the course was basically straight so Katrin Garfoot, Tayler Wiles and especially Annemiek van Vleuten were really able to knuckle down there, took some really big turns and that's what really helped to deliver us to the podium."
With wet and windy conditions for the stage in Groningen, the riders will take confidence from achieving a strong result and are ready for further demanding conditions predicted for the rest of the week.
"The weather looks like it will be pretty poor for the next stages," continued Bates. "It's going to make the race even harder and we will just take it day by day and see how it all pans out."
"The girls were super excited finishing with such a strong time, so it's really great to start a tour in a positive way like this. We are really looking forward to the next stage now and for the three time trailers it's good confirmation that they're all on the right track, so they're looking forward to another time trial on Saturday."
How it happened:
An evening team time trial marked the opening of the 2016 Energiewacht Tour and the start of the team time trial campaign. With there being few like events on the women's calendar, many team's utilised the opportunity to race, test out equipment and riders with the world championship event in October this year as the ultimate goal.
ORICA-AIS over the years have produced consistently high results in the team time trials, winning a number of medals at the world championships and therefore came into the race with high ambitions.
Before the event began, the rain came down leaving the pave roads wet and slippy as the first teams headed down the start ramp. This made it crucially important that the team performed at a high level technically, to stay safe but try and not lose anytime in the wet conditions.
As teams completed the distance, the fastest time continued to be beaten every few minutes and as ORICA-AIS set off the time to beat was 14minutes 59seconds set by Hitec-Products.
The experienced squad flew around the course in a blistering time to take the race lead, 19seconds clear of second place but with four teams still to finish.
It came down to the final two teams to knock ORICA-AIS off the top spot, with the hot favourites Canyon-SRAM crossing the line just one second ahead of the Australian team.
The riders recovered and waited for the final team to stop the clock. It was Boels-Dolmans who rode incredibly fast race to finish 20seconds ahead of Canyon-Sram to take the victory on stage one.
ORICA-AIS have now set the benchmark proving they are in strong contention in the TTT event which is a positive result to take into the following stages of the Energiewacht Tour. Former Australian champion Gracie Elvin will wear the orange sprint jersey for tomorrow's stage.
Energiewatcht Tour stage 1 TTT results:
1. Boels-Dolmans 14:09
2. Canyon Sram Racing 14:29
3. ORICA-AIS 14:30
General Classification after stage 1:
1. Ellen van dijk (Boels-Dolmans) +13:39
2. Christine Majeurus (Boels-Dolmans) ST
3. Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) ST
9. Gracie Elvin (ORICA-AIS) +0:08