Emma Johansson was the top finisher for ORICA-AIS on the opening round of the World Cup series. The Swede was part of a chase group of seven riders sprinting for third place behind Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) and Anna van der Breggen (Giant Liv). Armitstead won the two-up sprint to claim her first World Cup victory while Shelley Olds (Alé Cipollini) led the chase group home to round out the podium. Johansson slotted into eighth place.
With a slightly modified race course compared to previous editions, Ronde van Drenthe covered 146.6 kilometres, including three cobble sections and three ascents of the infamous VAM-berg, a man-made hill of rubbish. ORICA-AIS hoped to survive the cobbles with numbers and race aggressively in the build-up to the second ascent of the VAM-berg. The best laid plans went sideways as the race unfolded, and only Johansson could claim anything remotely resembling good position when attacks split the field. A poorly timed puncture took took Loes Gunnewijk out of contention, leaving Johansson isolated at the front.
“Emma said she was on the back foot all day. It was very unlike her. She kept missing moves and had to do a lot of work to keep herself in contention. By the time the chasers hit the VAM-berg for the final time, she was completely spent. Emma had used all her energy to stay on equal terms all day, so she nothing left for the finish.” - Sport Director Gene Bates