World junior time trial champion Elinor Barker made her long-awaited Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling debut in a windy Omloop van Borsele time trial, in the town of ‘S-Heerenhoek in the south eastern Netherlands province of Zeeland.
Elinor Barker makes her debut for Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling
The Welsh 18-year-old, who has spent much of the spring revising for exams, finished the 19.5km course in 16th place, in a time of 28 minutes, 4.77 seconds, just one minute 52.89 seconds behind the winning time of 26 minutes 11.88 seconds, posted by Netherlands time trial champion Ellen van Dijk (Specialized-lululemon).
“I think she did a very good ride, to get within two minutes of van Dijk at 18 years of age is really good,” said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling directeur sportif Simon Cope.
Olympic champion Joanna Rowsell was Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s best finisher, in 12th place with 27 minutes 52.93 seconds, while double Olympic champion Laura Trott was 19th, in 28 minutes 11.1 seconds.
“I think it was productive,” said Cope. “I think some of the girls were disappointed with the result but, when you look at the conditions, it doesn’t suit a couple of them because they’re just too light.
“It shows where they’re at, at the moment, and gives them something to work on,” he explained. “It was a very good field so they - especially Jo - can put some benchmarks down there to see where she’s at, and then just move forward from there.”
With very few competitive time trials in the European calendar, Cope feels that the race was useful as preparation for some of the challenges later in the season.
“I think it’s just good to go through those processes, down the start ramp, it’s all good,” he said. “They don’t get to do it enough.”
1. Ellen van Dijk (Specialized-lululemon)
2. Loes Gunnewijk (Orica-AIS)
3. Gillian Carleton (Specialized-lululemon)
12. Joanna Rowsell
16. Elinor Barker
19. Laura Trott