Australian Nettie Edmondson (Wiggle Honda) is on daily diary duty for Ella CyclingTips out of the Boels Rental Ladies Tour. The six-day stage race in Holland is Edmondson’s final bit of road racing of the season, and serves as important preparation for the team time trial at the 2015 Road World Championships in 17 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 hopes to come out of the Dutch race unscathed and fitter than she was at the start.
A two-rider breakaway survived to the finish on the third stage of the Boels Rental Ladies Tour. Lauren Hall (Team USA) celebrated enthusiastically across the line as she beat out Marta Bastianelli (Aromitalia – Vaiano) to the stage win. Twenty-two seconds later, Kirsten Wild (Hitec Products) led home the peloton.
Jolien d’Hoore (Wiggle Honda), who won stages one and two and has worn the orange race leader’s jersey since Tuesday, slipped down to third overall as Bastianelli assumed the top spot on the general classification. Hall is currently second-best at one second while d’Hoore is now in third overall at five seconds. Friday’s individual time trial will likely further shake-up the general classification.
In her own words, Edmondson describes a wet and filthy day of Dutch racing.
I KNOW I’M IN HOLLAND BECAUSE…
I was covered in shit.
It was bucketing down at the start. The rain let up for a little bit while we were racing, but it started up again quickly and rained most of the rest of the day. We were riding along this dike – so on a raise part of the road – and suddenly there was mud and crap everywhere. And when I say crap, I mean actual crap. Animal shit.
We were going quite fast, and it was spraying everywhere. I looked down, and my white shoes and socks were completely brown. My glasses were filthy. We were covered in shit.
I think that’s very typically Holland. There’s a lot of farmland and animals and all that – and while I’d like to say this was my first time racing through shit, it’s happened here before.
THE TEAM PLAN TODAY
We actually wanted to take it a bit easier today. There wasn’t much wind, so the chances of breaking up the peloton were quite slim. And rather than putting our energy into something that likely wouldn’t happen, we wanted to focus on riding more as a team. During the first two stages, a few of us were getting lost in the peloton. We knew we could have ridden better as a single unit, and that’s what we decided to concentrate on today.
The other objectives were to cover any dangerous moves and to stay safe. It really was dodgy out there today. We’re thinking about Worlds in the long term, and we don’t want to take any risks.
STAGE THREE COURES DETAILS
Today’s stage was two big laps of a 40-kilometre circuit and then four smaller 7.5-kilometre laps. It was different than what was in the programme, as was yesterday’s stage, because they weren’t able to get on the main roads they had planned to use because of police blockages or something like that.
The last two stages have been run over a mix of narrow and wide roads. Today it was narrow roads the entire time. The shorter laps had a couple technical sections, too. With the rain, the roads were wet and very slippery. Today was about being careful and not taking unnecessary risk.
SUMMARY OF STAGE THREE ACTION:
There were a few attacks early on but nothing that was dangerous or very exciting. The wind wasn’t strong enough to break up the race, but a few of the stronger teams tried anyway. They put the race in the gutter along the dike, through the shit, but the bunch stayed together.
Marta and Lauren were the first two riders to get any real gap. We decided that we were comfortable letting them stay away for a little bit. Vera Koedooder (Bigla) tried to get across to the breakaway with about 30 kilometres to go. She was away for a little bit, but then there were more attacks and that brought her back to the bunch.
With two laps left, there was another round of attacks. None of those riders got anywhere, and Marta and Lauren had a large enough advantage that they weren’t impacted by the aggression behind them. We weren’t too fussed about the idea of losing the jersey, so we let the break keep a small advantage all the way to the finish.
With the time trial tomorrow, we didn’t want to waste any extra energy today. Having the jersey for two stages was a bit of a bonus. We kept the gap small enough that Elisa [Longo Borghini] and maybe even Jolien will still be in contention if they have good time trials tomorrow.
MY HIGHLIGHT TODAY:
Honestly, it wasn’t a very nice day. I guess upon hearing that our teammate Audrey [Cordon] had crashed and was out of the race, hearing that she didn’t break anything, that she didn’t break her collarbone again, that would be my highlight
MY BIGGEST CHALLENGE TODAY
I’ve been struggling a little bit in the bunch here. I’m having a hard time moving around. I’m not sure if it’s because I haven’t done much racing in Holland this season or…
Because the race was over narrow roads today, I wasn’t able to use my strength to move up. It took me a long time to get to the front, and I wasn’t able to help the team as much as I wanted. I’m definitely lacking confidence in the bunch at the moment.
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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.