Third on the Stage, Third Overall for Emma Johansson at Elsy JacobsSun 28 Apr 2013
The second stage of racing in Luxembourg ended in the projected bunch sprint with Marianne Vos (Rabobank Liv/Giant) edging out Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda) for the win. The ever-consistent Emma Johansson rounded out the stage podium. In large part due to bonus seconds, the overall podium mirrored the stage two podium with Vos taking top honours ahead of Bronzini and Johansson.
“We gave it everything we had,” said Sport Director Dave McPartland. “Bronzini is in good form at the moment, and Vos is Vos. We did the best we could in the situation we had. I’m happy to have Emma finish on the podium, and I'm encouraged with how the girls rode. We continue to learn about and from each other, and it’s especially good to see the younger girls like Nettie [Edmondson] take on board advice and show immediate improvements.”
ORICA-AIS took to the start of the third day of racing with a single objective. The team was focused on the final sprint.
“Our main objective today was to bring Emma into the last corner of the last lap in a good position,” explained McPartland. “We were only 4” down on the overall, and we knew the way to make them up would be in the sprint. We put all our eggs into that basket.”
No significant breakaways dominated the early action. It was gruppo compatto at the start, and altogether at the finish. The team’s job began five kilometres from the line.
“At the top of the last climb, our work really began,” noted McPartland. “Because of the headwind, the girls struggled a bit. We tried keep out of trouble by staying together and racing towards the side of the bunch. We knew if we came to the front too early, we’d be swarmed.”
“The girls found each other before the last corner, and then they really hit the front as they entered the corner 500 metres from the finish,” McPartland continued. “They did a bloody good job here. Emma came into the corner in fourth wheel and ran third in the sprint. Vos and Bronzini entered the corner ahead of us, and Emma was never able to overtake them.”
While Johansson is typically disappointed to miss out on the top step, she was full of praise for her teammates today.
“That last corner is so itchy,” she said. “There was quite a big crash there last year, and everyone was nervous as we came into it. My teammates did a good job. They were very organised. I think we would have done better without the headwind. It's so much easier to make a train and lock the door when the wind is coming from the side. Marianne was the first to come into the last corner, and she was the one who was able to take it with the most speed. If you get a jump in the corner, no one will be able to catch you – and that’s what she did.”
“We did a good job to finish on the podium again,” Johansson continued. “We’re riding better each race. It’s quite nice to have Nettie in the mix now. With a bit more practice, she’s going to be great in a proper sprint train.”