ORICA-AIS vying for victory bringing a versatile squad to VårgårdaThu 18 Aug 2016
ORICA-AIS are back in action this weekend, this time in Sweden for the 15th Women's WorldTour race of the year, Crescent Vårgårda.
This year's edition sees a change from the usual circuit format that have been used for a number of years. Organisers have added a challenging large lap of 53kilometres, that includes four sections of dirt road, for 2016.
“The dirt roads will for sure have a big impact on the race,” predicted sport director Gene Bates. “Last year there was a pretty big fall on the one and only small dirt section, so I think having four sections now will create a bit of havoc and likely split up the race.”
“Tthe weather forecast also doesn’t look to flash. It´s suppose to be windy and raining so therefore these dirt sections will be a critical part of the race this year. I think the race will come down to who ever is left over after these sections.”
The race begins with four laps of the traditional 11kilometres circuit which features technical narrow roads, corners, climbs and descents before the riders head out to complete the new longer lap and dirt section.
The one-day race will conclude the same way as recent years with the peloton re-entering the 11kilometre circuits for a further four laps, finishing with a flat sprint.
ORICA-AIS are excited to have Australian road race champion Amanda Spratt back onboard after her top 20 finish in the recent Olympic Games road race. In last year's race, Spratt was awarded ´The Sufferfest´most aggressive rider of the day after her relentless attacking.
“Amanda is in good nick after Thuringen and the Olympics,” continued Bates. “She has just flown back from Rio so we will see how she is travelling but she´s definitely keen to have a good race as are all the other girls.”
“We have got a good group of in-form riders that can potentially do a lot of different things on this type of course.
"First and foremost will be about getting through the dirt sections and then we can make a decision if we go for an aggressive style of racing or look after someone for the finish.
“It is always a tricky one first race back after the Olympics, as to what the field is going to be like, the main thing is we have a good group of healthy, fit bike riders who are motivated to get a good result.”
Spratt will be joined by Tayler Wiles who recently shone at the eight-day Route de France, finishing in respectable second place overall along with Sarah Roy and Loren Rowney who bring speed into the team line up.
“With there being dirt road sections this year ideally I would like an aggressive race and it´s a WorldTour event so I expect it will be,” explained Rowney. “The race has finished before in a bunch sprint so if it comes down to a sprint again this year we have a fast team and options for the final.”
Continuing their development, the two younger members of the team, Alexandra Manly and Jess Allen, round up the versatile six-rider squad.
The 141kilometre WorldTour race in Sweden begins on Sunday 21st with an early 8.15 am start.
ORICA-AIS at Crescent Vårgårda (10021st Aug):