Tactics tested and lessons learnt: Nettie Edmondson’s Boels Rental Ladies Tour stage four diary

by Jessi Braverman


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.


With three flat stages preceding it, the Boels Rental Ladies Tour stage four individual time trial was the first chance for the overall contenders to make their mark on the race before Sunday’s hilly stage (which will likely decide the overall). Reigning time trial world champion and Aviva Women’s Tour overall winner Lisa Brennauer (Velocio-SRAM) beat out former time trial world champion Ellen van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans).

Brennauer stopped the clock at 14:38, two seconds faster than Van Dijk over the 11.4 kilometre course in Oosterthout. German national time trial champion Trixi Worrack (Velocio-SRAM) rounded out the stage podium with a time of 14:53. With only two weeks to go until the team time trial at the Richmond World Championships, it’s worth noting that Velocio-SRAM had three riders in the top five.

Nettie Edmondson managed 16th place, 49 seconds behind Brennauer. Following the stage, she reported being both surprised and satisfied with the effort and ensuing result. In her own words, she describes time trial day at the Boels Rental Ladies Tour below.

MONBANA MAGIC

Nettie’s highlight two days ago was a gift of Monbana chocolate powder from teammate Audrey Cordon.

I finally sampled the Monbana. Audrey was very right. It was fabulous. I must admit the Frenchies do that chocolate powder very well. After dessert, we usually have coffee or hot chocolate, so we ordered hot milks last night. I brought the powder down, and we all shared a taste of Audrey’s Monbana magic.

THE TIME TRIAL COURSE

The course today was 11.4 kilometres, which is a medium-length distance compared to our usual. Typically we get really short prologues or quite long time trials. These middle-distance ones aren’t courses we see often, so it’s always interesting to see how people go over them.

This particular course was quite technical. There were straights broken up by corners. Some of the straight stretches were long enough to get into a bit of a groove – the ones that were one kilometre or a bit more. There were probably ten corners in total, and six or seven of them where flowy. You needed to get out of the bars, take the corner and get back down, but no special precaution was necessary. The other corners were more technical.

MY APPROACH TO THE TIME TRIAL

I was feeling of mixed minds this morning. I struggled a little bit the last couple days. I felt fine the first day, but on stages two and three, I ran out of legs before the race ran out of road. When I was on the rollers this morning, my legs weren’t feeling particularly sharp, so I started to think I needed to go easy. On the other hand, I really wanted to know where I’m at compared to the others.

In the end, I decided instead of doing my usual full gas from the gun (and subsequently slowly blowing), I would go out at a nice solid pace but nothing too crazy and then see how I felt at the turn-around point. It was raining sporadically today, and the wind was strong, so I knew I wasn’t going to take any risks in the corner.

MY STAGE FOUR TIME TRIAL

I felt good at the turn-around, so I steadily built up my pace for the last three or four straights – and I gave it everything I had in the final bit. In the end, I got myself a decent result considering my plan and my tactic. I guess it was a lesson learnt. If I pace myself rather than blowing the doors out, I might actually do a decent time trial result. That’s a problem with my track background. I think that if my legs don’t hurt, I have to go harder.

I’ve looked at the splits at the turn-around. Mid-way, I was in 34th place and at the finish I was in 16th place. That shows how slow I went out – which maybe was a little too slow. It was nice to come feeling decent rather than completely spent. I want to help the team tomorrow, and I’m better able to do that not having gone max out today.

HOW THE TEAM FARED

Elisa [Longo Borghini] is suited to longer-distance time trials. Because she’s our rider for the general classification, she wanted to have a reasonably good ride today. [Sport director] Egon [van Kessel] said he would be happy with a top ten from her, and he was right around the mark. She rounded out the top ten. That’s a decent result given the competition here. There’s some time trial specialists and lots of teams here training specifically for the TTT.

It’s a shame that Jolien [d’Hoore] was the last to race beause that’s when the rain came down most heavily. Her instructions were not to risky anything silly, especially in the corners, with Worlds in mind. With around ten corners in the race, she was definitely at a disadvantage being off last and still managed 17th place.

MY HIGHLIGHT TODAY

Getting a decent result in the time trial when trying out a different tactic. I’ve been in this position previously where I was told to go out easy, and I struggle to do that. At the Route de France prologue, as an example, it was a three-kilometre effort that was completely flat and totally perfect for me. I was told, repeatedly, not to go out too hard because we raced straight into a headwind. I went out, and I felt great, so I kept going at a solid place. Two kilometres into the prologue, I thought: “Oh shit!” and that was that. I was out of legs.

It’s good for me to see that when I use this tactic that doesn’t come naturally to me because of my track background, I can pull if off. I’m curious what will happen if I’m able to apply it more consistently on the road.

MY BIGGEST CHALLENGE TODAY

It was really hard to get out of bed this morning. Everyone is really tired. I kept looking at the clock and thinking: “Do I get up now? Do I have a bit of a lie in? I still have more time until the alarm goes off but I’m awake.” And then you sleep a bit more and ten minutes later you’re still exhausted and the alarm is going off and now you have no choice except to get out of bed. Everyone was dragging today. There was lots of extra coffees around the breakfast table this morning.


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