Santos Tour Down Under winner Amanda Spratt took the victory today on stage two of Emakumeen XXX Bira after attacking within the final 10kilometres and successfully holding off the bunch until the finish line.
The rainy 86kilometre stage was animated by ORICA-SCOTT withKatrin Garfoot present in an early breakaway attempt and later on,Georgia Williams also represented in the main breakaway of the day.
Eventually the bunch regrouped and Spratt took her chances with a courageous two-rider move which led her to the stage victory and into the overall race lead.
“We knew we wanted to be aggressive in the final 10-15kilometres so I attacked on the first climb we came to but I thought because it was the first attempt it probably wouldn’t work,” Spratt explained. “Luckily for me I took Ane Santesteban (Ale-Cipollini) with me and I think that worked in my favour.”
“They are another really strong team here, especially for the sprints, so they were actually happy with the move I think.
“This is my first time winning a stage at this race and so it is really special. The team all rode really well today, we were quite aggressive all day and we tried to split the field and put pressure on the other riders so I am really happy to take the win.”
Spratt now leads the overall standings by five seconds ahead of Santesteban and 22seconds ahead of third place. With three hard stages to come, the team hope to keep the jersey within the team.
“It definitely looks like we have some tough hilly days coming up but we are confident in the fact that we have a really strong team here and riders suited to this course,” Spratt continued. “The advantage for us is that we have more than one rider to ride for and we can therefore work to keep the jersey in the team.”
After a victory two days ago in Durango-Durango with Annemiek van Vleuten and yesterday’s third place with Gracie Elvin, ORICA-SCOTT began today’s stage with confidence in the team’s overall strength and different options to tackle the race.
“We really wanted to use our numbers, we found we are probably the strongest team here in terms of strength and depth,” said sport director Gene Bates. “We tried to split the race early which we did but it all came back together after the major climb and that’s when we sent Georgia away in a little group.”
“Our plan was to be really aggressive right until the finish and save Elvin for the sprint if it was necessary but ultimately try and get a move away to the finish. We did that so it is great to come away with a victory and lead.”
How it happened:
The riders headed to the start line ahead of stage two welcomed by grey skies and rainy conditions.
After 30kilometres of racing the rain stopped as Garfoot headed over the summit of the first climb of the day with three other riders. The quadruplet attempted to breakaway but they weren’t given much freedom, only able to gain a twenty second advantage.
Soon after the group returned to the peloton and over the second and final categorised climb of the day, Williams rode into the main breakaway of the day with two other riders.
The trio rode out to a maximum advantage of one minute before been reeled back in with around 10kilometres to go. Unwilling to let the race settle with another bunch sprint ORICA-SCOTT rider Spratt launched away from the bunch with Ane Santesteban (Ale-Cipollini) and hovered 20seconds ahead of the peloton.
The rain began to pour again but Spratt and Santesteban continued to power on with the bunch unable to make a dent in their advantage.
Heading towards the line Spratt launched early and held on to take the victory on stage two.
Emakumeen XXX Bira stage two results:
1. Amanda Spratt (ORICA-SCOTT) 2:28:18
2. Ane Santesteban (Ale-Cipollini) +0:02
3. Marta Bastianelli (Ale-Cipollini) +0:26
General classification after stage two:
1. Amanda Spratt (ORICA-SCOTT) 3:45:40
2. Ane Santesteban (Ale-Cipollini) +0:05
3. Marta Bastianelli (Ale-Cipollini) +0:22