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by Mark Zalewski
January 16, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Kirsten Wild’s powerful sprint captures stage 2 of the Santos Women’s Tour; Caleb Ewan sprints to People’s Choice Classic victory at the Tour Down Under; Amanda Spratt carves out formidable lead in first stage of 2017 Santos Women’s Tour; Vos wins another World Cup, de Boer solidifies overall; Van Aert wins Italian World Cup round, overall; French government turns down request to make mechanical doping illegal; Toon Aerts likely out for season with shoulder injury from crash, riders question race course safety; American coach calls on Cycling Ireland to send team to world cyclocross championships; Owain Doull skips People’s Choice Classic with stomach bug; Di Rocco reelected president of Italian Cycling Federation; Money raised for 105-year-old world record breaker; Video: Meet Tiffany Cromwell; Video: Season prep with Wanty Groupe-Gobert.
Charging down the long straight to the finish line of the opening stage of the Santos Women’s Tour Amanda Spratt (Orica-Scott) got to throw her arms into the air to take the win with no other riders in sight. However, despite having every cause for celebration there was no sign of the elated smile of relief and excitement that the winner usually wears.
Spratt was giving everything she had right to the end, and her face showed it. Every second counted as there was more at stake than just a stage victory – this was a win aimed at making it difficult for anyone else to take the blue leaders jersey for the entire race.
Stage one from Hahndorf to Meadows was always set to be a pivotal day for the general classification, as not only is it the longest of the race at 106.5 kilometres, but also the toughest of the four stages with plenty of climbs right near the end. It was a splintered field that came across the line, with the chase on as Spratt and two other riders got away in the last 20 kilometres. Spratt came into the line 19 seconds ahead of Janneke Ensing (Ale Cipollini Galassia) and 59 seconds ahead of third place finisher Katherine Hall (United HealthCare), who just held out a group of 23 riders a further two seconds back.
“I think that was probably the most painful last five kilometres I’ve ever done,” Spratt told reporters. “Gene (Orica-Scott’s sports director) said to us last night the number one goal is to win the stage and to win with enough time to have a good buffer for the overall.”
“That was the best case scenario and that is what we have been able to do,” added Spratt, who just last week took the silver medal at the Australian Road Championships.
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