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 18 days (not that we’re counting!). Racing alongside the teammates that she will race with in the team time trial in Richmond, Edmondson hopes to come out of the Dutch race unscathed and fitter than she was at the start.
The second stage of the Boels Rental Ladies Tour was reminiscent of the first. Despite efforts by a handful of teams to break of the bunch, the stage ended in a field sprint. In the orange race leader’s jersey, Jolien d’Hoore handily won the dash to the line ahead of Lucinda Brand (Rabo Liv) and Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans). She will head into stage three with an eight second advantage over Brand. Amy Pieters (Liv Plantur) is ten seconds down in third.
In her own words, Edmondson, d’Hoore’s teammate, describes the day below.
I KNOW I’M IN HOLLAND BECAUSE…
Our race started in the middle of a shopping centre. For the first 500 metres, we were dodging street poles and pedestrians.
THE TEAM PLAN TODAY
The goal was to break up the race as well as find any opportunities we could to get in some team time trial training. The two objectives work together because if we’re all on the front swapping turns, that’s team time trial training that, with enough wind, could break up the peloton. With the peloton split, it’s a bit easier to target stage wins, but Jolien can win from the entire bunch, too, so we’re not stressed if it comes down to a sprint.
MY JOB TODAY
Be there at the critical moments and work on the front with my teammates.
WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?
The weather in Holland has been…unpredictable. It rained an hour before the race, and then the sun came out – but we thought it would rain again while we raced. Clothing decisions became a bit difficult. It was really, really cold when it was raining, but when we staged in the sunshine, it was warm. By mid-stage, the rain started up again and the temperature dropped. In the Dutch peloton, because the roads can be really narrow and the peloton is so big, it’s hard to get back to the car to drop-off clothing or get more clothes. This means there’s all sorts of talk before the stage about what to wear.
Related: Edmondson’s teammate Chloe Hosking wrote a hilarious account of how she and her teammates choose what to wear for the Spring Classics earlier this year.
STAGE TWO COURSE DETAILS
Today’s stage was two big laps of 49 kilometres and a final five kilometre loop into the finish town. The day was quite technical with a range of big wide roads and small narrow ones.
SUMMARY OF STAGE TWO ACTION
The race was on from the start. We had a six-kilometre neutral but after a few kilometres everyone started to move up. All of a sudden, it turned into this big swap-off on the front with all the bigger teams trying to break up the race. There was a little bit of wind and the roads were quite narrow from kilometre 10 to kilometre 20. Luckily I was in a good position for that.
A couple riders attacked and tried to get away before the first intermediate sprint but nothing eventuated. The sprint at around kilometre 20 was on a big, wide open road. The pace was really fast-moving at that point, and a lot of teams got involved. There’s bonus seconds at the intermediate sprints, so beyond the sprint jersey, riders are fighting for gains on the overall classification.
Jolien isn’t targeting the sprints specifically, but if she’s in a good position, she goes for them. We don’t line it out as a team for her because we’re focussed on other objectives. We know if she can win the kick at the end, that’s enough bonus seconds for the overall anyway.
We applied pressure after the first sprint to attempt to break up the peloton, but it didn’t quite work. We were lacking wind and found it a bit difficult to have all six of us at the front.
A solo rider slipped away between the two intermediate sprints, but she wasn’t a big threat, so we weren’t too worried about her gap. With a few other teams targeting the the second intermediate sprint, it was in their interest to shut down the move.
We lined it up at the front for a second time at around kilometre 68. The roads were narrower on this particular part of the parcours, and the wind was a bit stronger from the side. In the end, I don’t think there was enough wind to force the split.
The second intermediate sprint wasn’t nearly as crazy as the first. You’d think it would be the same, but fewer teams got involved. Jolien was able to pick up two seconds this time around.
From there, the race stayed together, and we saw a bunch kick at the end. The finish was messy, and there were a lot of hairy moments on the last circuit, but Jolien stayed safe and well-positioned. She makes it look easy.
MY HIGHLIGHT TODAY
Jolien’s second stage win is, of course, the biggest highlight of the day.
My other highlight comes courtesy of my teammate Audrey [Cordon] who gave me some of her famous chocolate milk powder from France – Monbana. It’s from a chocolatier, and Audrey’s been going on and on and on about this stuff all year. I’m looking forward to trying it.
MY BIGGEST CHALLENGE TODAY
I did a bit too much during the first 35 kilometres today, and I ended up completely cooking myself. I struggled to move up and do much to help the team after that, which was personally pretty disappointing. Staying in the race after I ran out of legs was the biggest challenge.
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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.