Double opportunities for ORICA-AIS at EPZ Omloop van BorseleTue 19 Apr 2016
ORICA-AIS head to Holland later this week for EPZ Omloop van Borsele and will line up in both the individual time trial on Friday evening and the 136kilometre road race on Saturday.
Three strong time trial riders will take on the 19.9kilometre race against the clock, and with it being only the second timed event of the season, sport director Gene Bates is expecting there to be a high level of competition.
"Time trial events are very few and far between this year and so I think we will see a really strong field for the time trial on Friday evening. The three riders we have lining up should be very competitive based on their strong results at the recent Energiewacht Tour."
The trio representing ORICA-AIS will be former Dutch time trial champion Annemiek Van Vleuten, Chrono Gatuneau winner Tayler Wiles and Australian time trial champion Katrin Garfoot.
In their first UCI time trial of the season at the recent Energiewacht Tour all three riders placed in the top five, finishing in second, fourth and fifth place respectively which displays the strength and depth within the ORICA-AIS team.
With their own individual goals and ambitions, the race provides another opportunity for the riders to practice time trialing with the Rio Olympic Games in the back of their minds.
"This event is important for these girls in terms of qualification for Rio with their various nations, and it is another good opportunity for them to hit outbetween now and the games," Bates explained. "It's hard to predict the result for an individual time trial, the riders can only control their own performances, so they'll just go out there and give it their all on Friday."
ORICA-AIS riders in EPZ Borsele time trial (22nd April):
The following day ORICA-AIS will race the 33rd edition of EPZ Omloop van Borsele road race, a UCI 1.1 category event.
The race covers four larger laps of a 24.3kilometre and four smaller laps of 9.9kilometre making up the total distance of 136.8kilometres. With it's narrow, twisty and open roads, the wind plays a strong part in determining the outcome of the race.
Previous editions has seen the peloton fragmented within the first kilometres as the riders start out on a wide road before a sharp left turn onto narrow, twisty lanes after just two and a half kilometres of racing.
Bates is looking forward to the race on Saturday with some fresh riders and a new addition.
"It will be the first race back for Sarah Roy and Lizzie Williams after having a short break after their busy start to the spring," Bates said. "In previous years the race has come down to a reduced bunch sprint, and if it does again this year we have Sarah, Lizzie plus Loren Rowney who can all challenge in sprints."
"We will come up with a plan out on the road and see who is feeling best. The girls will look to be aggressive again throughout the race."
Young Australian Alexandra Manly will return to the team coming off the Australian track season. It will be the 19-year-old's second season racing in Europe with the team.
"Omloop van Borsele will be the first road race in 2016 for Alex," Bates continued. "For her it's about getting back into the swing of racing after coming from Australia and off the back of the track season. She's had a good solid block of training and is really looking forward to joining the team again."
"She's a year older and year more experienced, so I think we will see a much more adapted rider coming into the team this year."
Two of the three riders competing in the time trial event on Friday evening, Wiles and Van Vleuten will also take to the start line on Saturday along side their fresh team mates, on what will be a busy weekend for the ORICA-AIS team.
ORICA-AIS riders in EPZ Omloop van Borsele road race (23rd April):