Former Australian criterium champion Sarah Roy raced onto the podium today at SwissEver GP Cham-Hagendorn after a strong display of teamwork from the ORICA-AIS squad.
The 30-year-old, known for her sprinting abilities, was able to challenge for victory as the race came down to a reduced bunch sprint in the small Swiss town. The tight sprint for the line saw Lotta Lepistol (Cervelo-Bigla) grab the win ahead of French rider Roxane Fournier with Roy rounding up the podium.
Sport director Loes Gunnewijk was pleased with the result after the team worked hard all day in an attempt to split up the race.
“The girls rode really well together today,” Gunnewijk explained. “We had all five riders in the front and they all did a really good job to be there.”
“We were hoping for a small front group in the final but there wasn’t any wind and we had good conditions so everybody was able to follow. It was hard for anyone to get away as it was a fast down hill after the climb, so everything kept coming back together.
“Amanda Spratt was able to get into a small breakaway but it only survived a few kilometres and in this kind of race we really missed not having Katrin Garfoot here. She wasn’t able to start because of a recent training crash but the five riders really made the most of the race and did what they could to try and split it.”
Starting the race as the defending champions, ORICA-AIS were heavily marked alongside a strong Cervelo-Bigla team. With all eyes on the two teams it came down to the inevitable bunch sprint.
“With two laps to go to the girls really tried to split it up,” continued Gunnewijk. “As it came closer to the finish and looked likely for a sprint they decided to work for Sarah. She was a little boxed in and went a little early, so to finish on the podium is a good start to this next block of racing and we can be happy with this result.”
How it happened:
Not far from the team base in Italy, ORICA-AIS headed across the border into Switzerland to commence the second part of their 2016 season.
The UCI 1.2 category race brought a variety of different teams to the start line. With many of the top UCI teams absent it provided the Australian outfit with freedom to explore new tactics and ideas practiced at their recent training camp.
Despite a challenging climb on each of the eleven laps, the peloton remained predominately all together for the first half of the race. The first significant attack came from Ashley Moolman (Cervelo-Bigla) who made her move with six laps remaining and successfully broke up the peloton into different groups.
ORICA-AIS joined Cervelo-Bigla at the head of the race and worked to keep up a high pace which caused a front group of around 30riders to form with 30kilometres left to race.
The motivated ORICA-AIS line up were able to place all five riders in the front group and as the race moved closer and closer to the finish line, attacks came one after the other yet riders were unable to establish any gaps.
The race eventually came down to a reduced bunch sprint with Roy powering in to third place in a close finish which saw Lepisto claim the victory.
ORICA-AIS will be back in action on Friday 27th May in Holland at the Boels-Rental Hills Classic where the second half of the season really kicks off.
SwissEver GP Cham-Hagendorn results:
1. Lotta Lepisto (Cervelo-Bigla)
2. Roxane Fournier (French National Team)
3. Sarah Roy (ORICA-AIS)