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by Mark Zalewski
January 3, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Solo victories for Spratt and Hepburn on stage 2 of the 2017 Bay Crits; Knee surgery for Heinrich Haussler; Peter Sagan shows off new rainbow stripes; Mario Costa announces retirement; Fewest cycling deaths in New Zealand for 25 years; Help choose Marianne Vos’ 2017 bike design; Fan has fun with Team Sky headshots; Philippe Gilbert on 2017: A New Beginning; Course preview for U.S. cyclocross nationals; 2016 cycling highlights animated; BMX training in a Russian winter.
After missing out on yesterday’s opening day of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic, Orica-Scott made amends in emphatic fashion on stage 2, winning both the women’s and men’s races.
Less than week out from her national title defense, Amanda Spratt took a commanding solo victory on the tough Portarlington course as teammates Jenelle Crooks (second) and Annemiek van Vleuten (third) completed an Orica-Scott clean sweep of the podium. A little over an hour later, Michael Hepburn put in a late attack to take a solo victory of his own. Stage 1 winner Ian Bibby (Condor JLT) was second while Mathew Gibson (Condor) repeated his third place from a day earlier.
“Yesterday we made a few mistakes in that race with not using the numbers as best we could so today we really wanted to make amends for that,” Spratt said. “So we decided to be aggressive earlier on this course that definitely suits the whole team. So even 10 minutes in we started the aggression then and we were able to create a situation where we had our entire team in a group of 10.
In the elite men’s race, Condor-JLT took responsibility for controlling the peloton, riding in support of stage 1 winner and overnight leader Ian Bibby. An early attack from Nathan Elliott (VTWO) was shortlived, so too a move from points classification leader Cameron Bayly (IsoWhey Sports-SwissWellness), and it wasn’t until the 25 minute mark that the first dangerous move came about. Michael Hepburn got clear on his own, spending some 10 minutes out front as his Orica-Scott teammates slowed things down. Once Hepburn surrendered it was his teammate Caleb Ewan who mounted an attack of his own, dragging Robbie Hucker (IsoWhey Sports-SwissWellness) along for the ride.
“When I was away with Bibby and Kerrison — obviously the leader’s jersey and Jesse’s a pretty fast finisher — so I wanted to go the line by myself and I threw a couple of attacks in but couldn’t get rid of them,” Hepburn said. “So I decided to just attack through the start-finish line, which you don’t normally do here, but just tried to catch Jesse off-guard and luckily I got a gap and could keep going.”
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