It was a fantastic race for the team. We prepared perfectly; we knew the course; and we had all trained very hard going into the race. We had a plan and we executed it.
There was a selection about halfway through the 122 km-race, created by the work of the Garmin-Cervélo team, who started a very fast team pace-line in the cross winds after the first climb.
Most of the field missed out on the move; only 20 riders made the front split, and we had 3 riders in it: myself, Olga Zabelinskya, and Alona Andruk. We knew that our odds were good if the break went to the finish together.
The last time up the climb – just 12 km from the finish line – there was another natural selection, and we started the decent with 11 riders. Garmin-Cervélo’s Emma Pooley attacked with 10 km to go and established a 20 second gap before some of the riders in the break started working. Many teams had 2 riders in the break, so a couple of those girls started working at the front. But Emma was holding at 20 seconds.
With about 6 km to go, I asked my teammate Olga to work to bring back Emma, and she went to the front and brought her back almost immediately. After the group was together again, there were no real attempts at another solo breakaway, and everyone in the move was content to wait for the sprint.
I positioned myself for the final sprint, while my teammate Olga stayed on the front and kept the pace fast enough to negate any last minute attacks.
Coming into the last km, Belgium’s Grace Verbeke and Netherlands rider Lucinda Brand jumped out of the group. I followed until we were close enough to the finish for me to jump.
I was extremely happy with the result because the team has worked really hard these last couple of weeks, and it was a really nice reward.
The president of the team was at the finish line with the rest of my teammates and almost all of the staff, so it was really nice for them to be able to see Diadora come away with the victory. It’s a great way to start the season and a true indication that good, hard teamwork pays off!