The riders of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling continued their preparation for the upcoming Women’s Tour in Great Britain with a strong performance in last week’s Energiewacht Tour.
While the black and orange team had no specific objectives in the five-day race, which took place in the north-eastern part of the Netherlands, the hard, windy kilometres saw the team further prepared for one of its biggest objectives of the season.
“We approached this race as a lead up towards the Tour of Britain,” explained Wiggle Honda directeur sportif Franky Van Haesebroucke. “For most of the girls it was their first serious road race of the season, especially the British riders, so they knew they didn’t have any pressure on them.
“The only race we wanted to do well was the team time trial,” he added.
Unfortunately Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling lost World Track Champion Elinor Barker to illness on the second day, while Dani King was brought down in a crash on day one and suffered a deep wound to her left knee that required stitches. The Olympic champion fought on to complete the team time trial two days later, however.
“The combination of lots of wind, small roads meant that there were lots of crashes. Every five kilometres there was a crash; lots of broken collarbones, and lots of broken bones,” Van Haesebroucke explained. “Then Dani had that bad crash, and the rest of the girls didn’t want to end up with broken collarbones or broken bones.”
For Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Laura Trott the Energiewacht Tour was her first stage race on the road after a World-beating season on the track. The double Olympic champion fought hard through the five days, however, as preparation for her home Tour continues.
“At the end of the bike race she was very tired from trying so hard,” said Van Haesebroucke. “Mentally she had a really hard time, but she knows that if she wants to be strong in Britain she had to fight through it. She’s really happy that she showed enough mental power to continue; she realised that she needs these miles for the Tour of Britain.
“The positive thing is that I know for a fact that the girls are strong,” he added.
While six of their teammates were racing at the Energiewacht Tour, Wiggle Honda’s Charlotte Becker, Anna-Bianca Schnitzmeier and Anna Sanchis were also in racing action in Europe.
Germans Becker and Schnitzmeier were part of a five-rider breakaway at the 70km Criterium in Valkenswaard, in the southern Netherlands. Becker escaped late with Boels-Dolmans’ Janneke Ensing, but was just unable to beat the Dutch rider in the final sprint. The former national champion’s second place was added to by Schnitzmeier’s fourth.
Sanchis was racing in her native Spain, taking a solo victory in the eighth edition of the Trofeo FDM Valencia, which finished at the Luis Puis Velodrome. The national time trial champion dominated the race, and finished 1’35” clear of the race for second place, to take her first victory of the season and show that her preparation for her own upcoming targets is also well on course.
photos Janos Schmidt