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ADELAIDE, Australia (CT) – Kirsten Wild (Cylance Pro Cycling) charged to victory in the final sweltering criterium stage of the Santos Women’s Tour in a battle of the sprint trains.
This was Wild’s second win of the tour but by finishing safely in the bunch, Orica-Scott’s Amanda Spratt secured the overall leader’s blue jersey, which she has held firmly in her grasp throughout the tour. The Orica-Scott team is the only team to have taken the win in the Santos Women’s Tour since it began three years ago. In the overal standing, Dutch women Janneke Ensing (Ale Cipollini Galassia) finished second and Wild third.
“There is a big sense of relief now, I am really really happy, and again the team were just incredible today,” Spratt told reporters before heading to the podium to pop the cork on a bottle of sparkling wine and celebrate. “They just had everything covered.”
In the final stage of the tour it was Annette Edmondson (Wiggle High5) who came to the line behind Wild and rounding out the podium was Chloe Hosking (Ale Cipollini Galassia), who had been among the podium finishers in three stages and took home the sprint jersey. Peta Mullens (Hagens Berman Supermint) had to settle for fourth, for the second day in a row.
“We took the corner like crazy”
Tuesday’s stage 4 was an evening criterium of one hour plus two laps at Adelaide’s Victoria Park, a street circuit that was once home to the formula one Australian Grand Prix. With temperatures in Adelaide approaching 40°C on Tuesday, which lead to a shortening of stage 1 of the men’s Tour Down Under, spectators huddled well back in the grandstand to try and escape the sun while all the riders wanted to do before the start was find some shade.
Once they were out on the crit circuit there was nowhere to hide, with a number of teams determined to make their mark but again Orica-Scott was on patrol on the front. Last year’s tour winner Katrin Garfoot was never far away from the lead and Annemiek van Vleuten guided Spratt around the peloton. Then as the last few laps neared the team lined up at the head of the pack to nullify any attacks, with the blue jersey wearer Spratt in fifth wheel.
The rest of the teams weren’t going to let it stay that way though, with all the sprinters wanting another shot at victory so the various trains massed and came to the final corner at a fierce pace.
“They were pretty fast. We took the corner like crazy … it was incredible, we had to pass,” Wild told reporters after the race.
Wild’s team celebrated the win of their new recruit, and the success of their sprint train, particularly team mate Marta Tagliaferro who had piloted Wild around the corner.
A lead to hold onto
Spratt was always going to be one to watch for the Santos Women’s Tour, clearly showing good form in her opening race of the season, the Michelton Bay Cycling Classic, where she won a tough stage solo. She then went on to come second to her team mate Katrin Garfoot in the Australian Road Nationals.
Plus her team was definitely the one to beat, with multiple riders that had the form to potentially take the win supporting her. The Australian based team are all in condition for their home races, while many international teams were coming out of winter and a training break.
However, last year Garfoot was the one who the team was chasing the blue leaders jersey for and being GC lead rider is not a familiar position for Spratt to be in.
“I must say its a little bit stressful this whole GC business, I’m definitely not used to it and it has been an interesting experience being in this position,” Spratt told reporters in a jovial tone.
“Normally I’m the one helping the GC leader and trying to calm them down and make them not stress so much. I’ve got a new appreciation for being in this position now.”
Spratt last took out the overall in a stage race around six years ago at the Tour de Feminin. “Its been a while between drinks,” Spratt joked after the crucial stage 3, which was realistically the last chance for anyone to challenge her lead.
The tour, which has a UCI 2.2 classification, began on Saturday, starting before the men’s WorldTour ranked Tour Down Under. This year the Santos Women’s Tour, the first event of the women’s 2017 international road race season, had more international teams than ever before making it the strongest field we’ve seen on Australian shores since the World Road Championships was held in Geelong.
Hosking took out the sprinters jersey, her team mate Janneke Ensing the Queen of the Mountain classification, Alexis Ryan (Canyon-SRAM) the young rider classification and the team classification went to Orica-Scott.
How the earlier stages played out
Stage 1. Charging down the long straight to the finish line of the opening stage of the Santos Women’s Tour Spratt got to throw her arms into the air to take the win with no other riders in sight. Spratt carved out a commanding lead, charging away from her only breakaway companion on the final climb and taking out a lead of 1 minute and 1 second on the other pre race favourites. The closest rider was Janneke Ensing (Ale Cipollini Galassia) at 19 seconds and 59 seconds behind was third place finisher Katherine Hall (United HealthCare), who just held out a group of 23 riders a further two seconds back. Read the full story here.
Stage 2. Trying out the sprint train with a new team for the very first time, Wild used her powerful kick to take out the stage two criterium at the Santos Women’s Tour in front of an enthusiastic crowd. Rachel Barbieri followed her team mate over the line to take second ahead of Chloe Hosking (Ale Cippolini Galassia). Read the full story here.
Stage 3. Hosking 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. Read the full story here.
Stage 4 Result
|1.||41||Kirsten WILD (CPC)||1h02:42||10|
|2.||11||Annette EDMONDSON (WHT)||+0||6|
|3.||31||Chloe HOSKING (ALE)||+0||4|
|4.||73||Peta MULLENS (HBS)||+0||2|
|5.||14||Grace GARNER (WHT)||+0|
|6.||55||Chloe DYGERT (T20)||+0|
|7.||53||Gretchen STUMHOFER (T20)||+0|
|8.||34||Anna TREVISI (ALE)||+0|
|9.||26||Alexis RYAN (LPR)||+0||10|
|10.||1||Katrin GARFOOT (ORS)||+0|
For full results of stage 4 of the 2017 Santos Women’s Tour click here.