The Orica-AIS team have finished on the podium for the second year in a row in Vårgårda, Sweden. Round six of the World Cup series saw the Australian team finish third in the team time trial behind Specialized-lululemon and Rabobank-Liv/Giant.
The reigning team time trial world champions, Specialized-lululemon, completed the 42.5 kilometre course in 53 minutes and 59 seconds with the Orica-AIS team a further one minute and 26 seconds behind in third. It was a good performance for the team who lost the experience of Loes Gunnewijk with 10 kilometres still to race after she punctured. Amanda Spratt, Emma Johansson, Shara Gillow and Mel Hoskins were the final four to finish for Orica on the windy and technical course
Orica-AIS director, Dave McPartland, believed the team was a strong podium chance heading into the event. At the conclusion, he said the team was upset not to get closer to the win, but remained optimistic heading into the World Championships next month
"We had the benefit of being one of the last teams to race, so we were able to learn a little bit from the early times and tweak our approach accordingly," explained McPartland. "There were a lot of teams completely smashing in the first half but coming to second checkpoint with only four riders. I think the wind was doing some serious damage … I told the girls to be cautious in the first half and that we might want to think about a negative split."
"Everyone is feeling pretty down at the moment, but I see this as an opportunity. It's our first top level time trial in preparation for the Worlds in September," continued McPartland. "Yes, we see that we have things to work on, but I don't see any reason to be overly negative. We have a bit over a month to work on the areas that require our attention and chip away until we see improvements."