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LYNDOCH, Australia (CT) — Chloe Hosking (Ale Cipollini Galassia) stepped up to the top step of the podium in a hot and hilly stage of the Santos Women’s Tour as she turned the tables on yesterday’s winner Kirsten Wild (Cylance Pro Cycling) in a sprint to the line.
Rounding out the podium for stage 3 was Alexis Ryan (Canyon-SRAM) while tour leader Amanda Spratt (Orica-Scott) came in safely with the front bunch, preserving her lead and making it extraordinarily unlikely that anyone else could pull back enough time to take the blue tour leader’s jersey from her in the final criterium stage. The young rider jersey also remained on Ruth Winder’s (UnitedHealthcare) back.
The 92 kilometre stage through the wine growing area of the Barossa in South Australia wasn’t as long or tough as the first stage, but the heat combined with a category three climb was enough to tear the field apart and make it a challenge for the sprinters to come to the end with the group. But it was a challenge that some were up to.
The final climb was less than 13 kilometres away for the finish line.
“I was just sucking in air over the climb and it was a matter of trying to recover as quickly as possible,” Hosking told Ella CyclingTips in a video interview. “Then it was a bit of a waiting game between Kirsten Wild and I. We were sort of following each other, and then with about five kilometres to go I jumped on her wheel and I didn’t let it go until about 150 metres to go when I came around her.”
Watch the full interview here:
How the stage played out
Erin Kinnealy (Holden Women’s Cycling) took off out the front early today at less than ten kilometres into the race, working solo to build up a lead that at one stage was approaching two minutes. No one jumped from the pack to join her, as with the heat and climbing ahead most were conserving for later.
Kinnealy looked strong out the front happily telling her team car, which Ella CyclingTips was covering the race from today, that they could go back and look after the rest of the team in the bunch as she was fine.
Being out alone, however, took a toll and the the bunch was also putting the foot down. Orica-Scott were now continually at the front making sure they were protecting race leader Spratt’s position and driving it hard so no one could get away.
In the run up to the first climb of the category 3 Whispering Wall the gap closed and then disappeared entirely. The pace was on, and it was telling in the field. Dozens of riders were falling into the convoy of team cars, and then out the back with nearly 40 kilometres still to go to the end.
There were a few small attempts to break away from the pack, but Orica-Scott was on patrol and as they came back for their second climb of the Whispering Wall at 80 kilometres with just 13 kilometres to go, the field was split even further and the front group dropped to little more than 30 riders.
The riders looked as parched as the dried brown grass in the paddocks surrounding the road. Many were falling off the back of the field, clearly suffering as temperatures reached the mid 30s and the stockings of ice cubes being passed out team car windows to cool them were clearly not enough to get them through.
No time pulled back for the overall
At the end of the day Spratt maintained her lead. Only eight riders are within a minute, with Janneke Ensing (Ale Cippolini Galassia) the closest at 19 seconds and the next rider Wild at 50 seconds.
One of those named pre-race as a contender is Peta Mullens (Hagens Berman Supermint), who is sitting in eighth, a minute back and just missed the podium by one spot today. She said that once they got out on the stage it was pretty clear that no one was going to be allowed a chance to cut the deficit to Spratt.
“It’s hard to get time back and Orica are such a strong team that they can essentially monitor everything and they are not going to let anyone go up the road,” Mullens, who finished fourth today told Ella CyclingTips.
After the first climb of the day Lucy Bechtel (Specialized Women’s Racing) and Anna Christian (Drops Cycling) took off out the front but Orica-Scott quickly hauled the break back in.
“It was pretty obvious then that nothing was going to get away unless it had their main GC girls in it,” said Mullens.
The four stage tour, which has a UCI 2.2 classification, began on Saturday kicking off the women’s international road racing for 2017 and continuing Australia’s summer season of racing following the National Road Championships last week. The field of the Santos Women’s Tour is the strongest ever, with 11 international teams joining the race, many coming from their winter into a hot South Australian summer.
Stage 3 Result
|1.||31||Chloe HOSKING (ALE)||2h21:56|
|2.||41||Kirsten WILD (CPC)||+0|
|3.||26||Alexis RYAN (LPR)||+0|
|4.||73||Peta MULLENS (HBS)||+0|
|5.||101||Rebecca WIASAK (HFD)||+0|
|6.||24||Tiffany CROMWELL (LPR)||+0|
|7.||55||Chloe DYGERT (T20)||+0|
|8.||86||Susanna ZORZI (DRP)||+0|
|9.||81||Alice BARNES (DRP)||+0|
|10.||15||Julie LETH (WHT)||+0|
For full results of the Santos Women’s Tour stage 3 click the link here.