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by Jessi Braverman
September 7, 2015
Photography by Bart Hazen
WOMEN'S CYCLING BROUGHT TO YOU BY ORBEA
Australian Nettie Edmondson (Wiggle Honda) has been on daily diary duty for Ella CyclingTips out of the Boels Rental Ladies Tour. The six-day stage race in Holland was Edmondson’s final bit of road racing of the season and served as important preparation for the team time trial at the 2015 Road World Championships in 15 days (not that we’re counting!). Racing alongside the teammates that she will race with in the team time trial in Richmond, minus Audrey Cordon who crashed out on stage three, Edmondson hoped to come out of the Dutch race unscathed and fitter than she was at the start – and in her final check-in following the last stage, she’s happy to report it’s mission accomplished.
With five ascents of the infamous Cauberg plus countless other climbs on tap, the Boels Rental Ladies Tour peloton knew they were in for a tough day in the office. The projections of an action-packed final stage with fireworks for a finale came to fruition with an animated, aggressive and exciting race.
Thalita de Jong (Rabo Liv) earned the most combative award for her repeated attacks in the last hour of racing. And in the end, she had enough left in the tank to take out the sprint from a select group of approximately 10 riders who came to the finish line together in Valkenburg. Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle Honda) sprinted in for second ahead of race leader Lisa Brennauer (Velocio-SRAM).
Brennauer’s versatility continues to impress. She put in dominanting performances in time trials (as would be expected), sprints and over the hills during the six-day Dutch tour – as she has done throughout the season as a whole.
Nearly half the field DNF’d stage six of the Boels Rental Holland Ladies Tour. Nettie Edmondson was amongst the finishers. In her own words, she tells you about her day.
Today’s stage had Elisa’s name written all over it, so we were all in for her. With the team time trial squad here in Holland, we knew were going to lack climbers for her at the end of the race, so we focussed on doing whatever we could for her early. This meant not only looking after her but trying to get into an early move that might prove useful to her later in the race.
Emilia Fahlin and I were both tasked with getting into the early break. Clearly a lot of riders also had this responsbility. It took nearly 30 minutes for the break to form. When a group of 11 finally got away, we had Emilia represented in the group.
With Emilia away, I did what I could for Elisa until the bigger hills came – and then I was distanced from the field over those hills. From there, I used today for training. Obviously I would have liked to do more, but I’m not going that well over hills at the moment. I did what I could do, and I have to be satisfied with that.
Today was on from the gun. Given the profile, this was no surprise. Everyone who wouldn’t last in the hills tried to get into the break. It was a relief when the move with Emilia finally got away.
Emilia was away for most of the race. The breakaway came back when Elisa attacked up the Cauberg with two laps to go. And once Elisa attacked, the attacks never stopped. The race split and came back together and split and came back together all the way to the finish. Each split and regrouping saw additional riders get spit out the back.
While I didn’t see the final, I heard all about it from Elisa. It sounds like it was some very exciting racing. We’re stoked that Elisa came second although she did have some problems with her gears at the end, which was a shame. In the end, Elisa was fifth overall. We’re happy to know she’s on form coming into Worlds. This was the final test for her, and she passed with flying colours.
We leave Holland with two stage wins from Jolien [d’Hoore] and a stage podium from Elisa, and Jolien spent two days in the race lead. Not too shabby for a team here mostly looking for training ahead of Worlds.
Perhaps this isn’t the most exciting of highlights, but because it’s been a rain-soaked week here in Holland, my highlight today was that we didn’t have rain today. There was a massive cloud coming over us with 17 kilometres to go on the final lap, and my goal was to make it to the finish before the rain hit. It had just started sprinkling when we crossed the finish line, so that wasn’t too bad.
We passed the camper vans every lap. We’d go up the Cauberg and head toward the finish line and pass the campers. It was very tempting to pull into the parking area and call it quits. I think it was my biggest challenge today not to do that. I kept thinking to myself: “You’ve come so far. You’ve got to finish it up.” And honestly, I knew I had this check-in, and I didn’t want to let all my Ella CyclingTips readers down – to tell you I had quit. That was part of my motivation to get through until the end.
Follow Boels Rental Ladies Tour
Like many of the Dutch races, the Boels Rental Ladies Tour has fantastic social media coverage, and the race website is full of all the information you’d want about the race. We’ve highlighted select resources below that will allow you to follow Boels Rental Ladies Tour live or catch up following each stage.