Amanda Spratt breaks away to set up second Santos Women’s Tour title

Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.

0
Jump To Comments

 

A lumpy finish, a tight GC battle and a team determined not to watch the race they’d walked away with every year slip from their grasp; Stage 3 of the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under was always going to be hard fought.

Three Mitchelton-Scott riders were lined up within 25 seconds of general category leader Katrin Garfoot (UniSA-Australia), who won the race when she was with the team in 2016. That meant it was no surprise when Australia’s only UCI listed team road aggressively on the final road stage, pretty much as soon as they set off from the start line at The Bend Motorsport Park.

For a second stage in a row the winds and rain came to play, with Mitchelton-Scott following the pattern of using the cross winds to break up the field. However it kept coming back together, at least until 2015 world time trial champion Linda Villumsen (Team Virtu Cycling) took off about 40 kilometres into the race. The peloton appeared content to let her go and the gap grew quickly.

Once it had blown out to over five minutes the threat of her staying away and riding away with the stage and tour seemed all too real. That’s why as the 122.4 kilometre race shifted into its final third, riders were shooting off the front frantically trying to jump the gap. When Mitchelton Scott’s top GC contenders, Lucy Kennedy and Annemiek van Vleuten, got among the action and managed to get in a break that left Garfoot behind the dual medallist at the 2017 World Road Championships was forced to chase. The nation’s best time-trialler made the catch, but then it was Spratt’s turn to go and now Garfoot no longer had the energy to follow.

Spratt took off with Cylance Pro Cycling’s Lauren Stephens and then it wasn’t long before the sole leader turned into a trio out the front. With little more than 20 kilometres to go, Villumsen fell by the wayside, worn down by the fresh legs of Spratt and Stephens.

From then Stephens stuck to Spratt’s wheel till the final push. Spratt then determinedly grasped the win she’d been planning since her December course recconnaissance. The two-time Australian road champion crossed the Hahndorf finish line seven seconds ahead of Stephen’s to pull out a 29 second advantage to the American rider on the GC. Grace Brown (Holden-Team Gusto) pulled away from the field and time-trialled her way to third on the stage and fifth in the overall standings. Garfoot rolled in fourth, to slip to third on the overall leaderboard.

With just a criterium ahead to complete the Tour, Spratt now looks set to walk away with the overall victory for a second year in a row, continuing Mitchelton-Scott’s dominance of Australia’s four day tour.

Here’s the Stage 3 highlights video from the Santos Women’s Tour:

https://www.facebook.com/tourdownunder/videos/10160089598665160/

Photo Gallery

Editors' Picks