Three Times Third for Emma Johansson in BelgiumMon 4 Mar 2013
Emma Johansson sprinted to yet another podium in Belgium. Despite finding herself boxed in during the final run in towards the line, Johansson notched her third consecutive third place finish of the season in the Omloop van Het Hageland field sprint. Tiffany Cromwell also rode herself onto the podium with a win in the GPM competition.
“Emma was probably the fastest there, but she didn’t get rewarded for it,” said Sport Director Dave McPartland. “She was sprinting in the middle of the road and got swamped on both sides in the last 200 metres. From how she reports it, she had good legs but was boxed in really badly.”
“It’s still a good result,” McPartland added. “The girls are fine tuning the lead out. With a little more racing together, I think we’ll come up on the top in this sort of scenario in the near future. It was a good effort from Tiff to take the climbing competition.”
The first two hours of racing were high on aggression but low on decisive action. A large field of 180 starters fought for position at the front of the bunch.
“The first big loop was fast,” said McPartland. “Actually, it was pretty fast the entire time. 180 starters is a large field for a women’s race. Everyone wanted to be near the front, and everyone fought to get there. Things were fast and aggressive without anything significant going away. The peloton navigated the traffic furniture and undulating terrain without too much trouble.”
From the big loop, the peloton crossed the finish line for the first of five 13.4 kilometre circuit laps.
“The girls rode in a good position on the circuit laps,” said McPartland. “Tiff [Cromwell] was especially attentive. She covered every move.”
Each break attempt was neutralised. The peloton chased down every escape group before it managed to attain anything bigger than a 30 seconds advantage. Johansson made one final attempt in the last lap.
“Emma went away with five kilometres left to race,” noted McPartland. “She attacked on the narrow country road across the top of circuit climb. She took Elisa Longo Borghini [Hitec Products UCK] and Anna van der Breggen (Sengers) with her. They only got a five or six second gap, so they were always right in front of the bunch. It came back together halfway down the descent before the last little uphill towards the finish.”
Suspecting that her late break was not the race winning move, Johansson didn’t spend too much energy in the break.
“Emma saved a lot for the finish in case things came back together,” explained McPartland. “We worked for her in the sprint.”
Johansson found herself boxed in at the finish and came across the line in third behind Emily Collins (Wiggle Honda) and Shelley Olds (TIBCO To the Top).
“We are racing to win,” said Johansson. “That is always the goal. Today I really had the legs to win. It came down to a sprint in the end. We did everything we could. We are still learning, but we find each other quite easily. It was a pity I was a bit boxed in at the end because I didn’t feel like I got to sprint fully. It’s a shame, but that’s racing sometimes.”
“We’re racing well,” she continued. “We’re on the front, and covering all the important moves. We’re making moves, too. Sometimes we don’t get rewarded for the work, and today was one of those days. We’re not content to only be on the podium. We want to win.”