Shara Gillow Wins Thüringen Time Trial; Emma Johansson Maintains Race Lead

Thu 18 Jul 2013

ORICA-AIS had two reasons to celebrate in Gera. Australian National Time Trial Champion Shara Gillow time trialed onto the top step of the stage four podium. Emma Johansson, the Swedish National Time Trial Champion, slotted into third place to retain the Thüringen Rundfahrt race lead.

“It’s very special to stand on the top step of the podium,” said Gillow. “I was third at the EnergieWachtTour time trial when I first came over to Europe in April and I was third earlier this month at the final stage time trial in the Giro Rosa, too. To take the win today was really special.”

“I’m happy to keep the jersey, of course,” Johansson added. “I did everything I could do in the time trial. I’m glad it was enough to hang onto the lead.”

The 20.4km out-and-back effort featured few technical elements. The stage began in a cobbled piazza. A few twists and turns brought riders onto a wide, open, rolling road that was exposed to the wind. The stiff headwind on the way out turned into a tailwind on the way home that saw both Gillow and Johansson hit speeds of up to 80 km/hr.

Gillow stopped the clock at 28’52, 35” quicker than Ellen Van Dijk (Specialized-lululemon) in second. While Johansson was 39” slower than Gillow, she was substantially quicker than the other overall contenders.

“I don’t put out time trials where I start easy,” Johansson said. “I never hold back. I go all in all, all the time. The first half of the course was better for me because it was harder.”

“I rode the course very, very slowly before I warmed-up,” Gillow added. “I looked at how fast I could go in certain places. From the recon, I decided it was the type of course where I could go full gas the whole way.”

Gillow’s result is especially commendable in light of the work she has done for Johansson in the first three stages of the seven day Tour.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work for Emma,” Gillow noted. “It’s felt like a team time trial the last two days to chase back breaks. Today was just another time trial in that respect.”

“It’s a super impressive result by Shara,” McPartland added. “To finally get a win at one of the biggest tours of the year is huge. She’s entered world class level with this result. I’m really happy for her.”

McPartland had divided the week into two distinct sections. During the first three stages, he asked them team to help Johansson bank as many bonus seconds as possible. It was up to Johansson to defend her overall lead in the time trial. From there, the team would reassess their objective.

The stage drastically changed the composition of the top ten on general classification. Johansson and Gillow now occupy the top two spots, with Gillow 5” behind the yellow jersey. Tatiana Guderzo (MCipollini Giordana) jumped up to third overall, 47” down on Johansson.

“We showed the strength of our team today,” said McPartland. “We showed why we have the jersey and how we’ve been able to successfully defend it so far. I’m not counting our chickens before they hatch, but we feel good about our current position.”

“We still have three hard days of racing left,” Johansson added. “Other teams will attack us and try to make it hard for us to keep the jersey. We’re in a good position with me in first and Shaz in second. Spratty [Amanda Spratt] did a good time trial, and she’s moved up to seventh overall. It will make for some interesting days of racing.”