2014 Australian national criterium champion Sarah Roy sprinted to third place at the Omloop van het Hageland in Belgium today to give ORICA-SCOTT women their second podium of the weekend.
An impressively controlled tactical performance by the team saw 2017 Tour Down Under winner Amanda Spratt mark and infiltrate the earlier breakaways before ORICA-SCOTT led the peloton into an exciting race finale.
Former Australian national road race champion Gracie Elvin led Roy into the bunch sprint with around 500metres to go with Jolien d’Hoore (Wiggle-High5) eventually just edging out the win and Roy in third.
“We expected a harder race and we wanted that to be honest,” said Sport director Gene Bates. “There wasn’t much wind and the course was relatively straight forward, we missed a key move late on and then we had to work hard to bring it back together which we did very well.”
“The whole team was very strong again today, after Annemiek van Vleuten’s result yesterday its nice to achieve another podium and maintain our momentum after an excellent Australian summer.
“We don’t really have an out and out sprinter and Sarah showed today how well we are developing and racing with confidence. It’s been a great start to the spring campaign and we really wanted to hit the ground running here in Europe.”
How it happened:
The race started and finished in Tielt-Winge with a 56kilometre loop being covered before four laps of a 17kilometre finishing circuit.
The controlled peloton was still together after the first hour of racing with ORICA-SCOTT maintaining position right at the front before a three-rider move began to break clear.
The bunch remained attentive and once through the intermediate sprint the trio was reeled back in.
A crash involving Roy occurred at the back of the bunch with around 80kilometres left to race with Elvin dropping back and regaining contact with Roy in tow a few kilometres later.
As the race reached the halfway point five riders came together to form the next attack with Spratt immediately giving chase and making contact, the group now swelled to seven with a gap of 30seconds.
Spratt’s group was caught with 55kilometres remaining as ORICA-SCOTT upped the pace of the bunch with Elvin and Van Vleuten.
Attacks started to fly throughout the final 30kilometres as move after move was shut down by the now reduced peloton.
ORICA-SCOTT maintained their position at the front of the bunch going into the last five kilometres with only Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) five seconds ahead and alone.
The Australian outfit controlled the catch and reeled in Borghini with less than two kilometres to go, the sprint immediately took shape with Roy just being pipped into third place and the win going to d’Hoore.
Omloop van het Hageland results:
1. Jolien d’Hoore (Wiggle-High5) 03:17:41
2. Chloe Hosking (Ale-Cipollini) ST
3. Sarah Roy (ORICA-SCOTT) ST
Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com