ORICA-AIS wrap up a solid week taking second overall at the Energiewacht TourSun 10 Apr 2016
Former Ronde van Vlannderen winner Annemiek Van Vleuten produced a fantastic time trial and constant results throughout the five-day Energiewatch Tour to finish in second place on the general classification.
27-year-old Gracie Elvin sprinted to 11th place on the final day of racing behind stage winner Kirsten Wild (Hitec-Products).
Sport director Gene Bates praised the riders efforts throughout the race and although ORICA-AIS weren't able to pull off a stage victory, their consistency in all of the early season racing has shown their top form and determination.
"It came down to a race of intermediate sprints today," said Bates. "Annemiek took one second in a bonus sprint to keep second place overall. To come away with this result is really good for the team, especially in our first tour of the European season."
"Our overall goal this week was to take a stage win, we didn't achieve that but we were second, third, fourth, fifth and we were round the mark every day. I think we can only take away positives from this week.
"Today's stage was on an island in the middle of the ocean, yet the wind wasn't very strong and the race ended up being quite average. Tayler Wiles produced some really good attacks and got into some good moves, also Loren Rowney, she went with what was probably the most dangerous move of the day, however everything kept coming back together.
"I am really pleased with the whole performance this week from all the girls, they showed great commitment and we had some great results, they all raced really well together."
How it happened:
The final day of the Energiewacht Tour covered eight laps of a 15.1kilometre circuit to make a stage total of 117.9kilometres.
The stage began with a flurry of attacks, mainly from riders further down on the general classification trying to take their chance. However, the race leading team, Boels-Dolmans, stayed attentive throughout the stage to control the continuous attempts.
Every lap the race contained a section of open road along the seafront in Borkum, causing the bunch to line out with tight corners before and after. Nevertheless, this tricky section was still not enough for any breakaway attempts to stay away.
The main action within the stage happened during the intermediate sprints, as Lisa Brannauer (Canyon-Sram) who started the day in third place, contested and won three of the sprints taking three bonus seconds each time, putting Van Vleuten's second place under threat.
The Dutch rider was able to pick up one second along the way to keep her gap ahead of Brennauer with it all coming down to the final sprint.
During the last two laps, 30kilometres left to race, the pace lifted and the main bunch split in two with ORICA-AIS well represented in the front. Rowney was caught up in a nasty crash and was taken for X-rays after the stage as a precaution.
The last three kilometres included the tight corner and section along the seafront and as the large front bunch navigated through for a stretched out bunch sprint.
ORICA-AIS' highest place finisher was Elvin who sprint to 11th place, with Kirsten Wild (Hitec-Products) winning the bunch kick. Van Vleuten successfully retained her second place on the general classification behind the overall winner Ellen Van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) and just one second clear ahead of third place.
Van Vleuten's podium in the overall classification rounds up a successful week of racing for the team, producing consistent results throughout the week. ORICA-AIS will be back in action for the next WorldTour race Flèche Wallone on the 20th April.
Energiewacht Tour stage five results:
1. Kirsten Wild (Hitec-Products) 3:01:03
2. Lisa Brennauer (Canyon-Sram) ST
3. Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans) ST
11. Gracie Elvin (ORICA-AIS) ST
Overall general classification:
1. Ellen Van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) 11:45:23
2. Annemiek Van Vleuten (ORICA-AIS) +0:36
3. Lisa Brennauer (Canyon-Sram) +0:37