Cycling: 28th Tour of Italy 2017 / Women / Stage 10
Sarah ROY (AUS)/ Jenelle CROOKS (AUS)/ Georgia WILLIAMS (NZL)/ Amanda SPRATT (AUS)/ Annemiek VAN VLEUTEN (NED) Points jersey /Alexandra MANLY (AUS)/
Torre del Greco -Torre del Greco (124km)/ Women / Giro Rosa / © Tim De Waele

Tour Down Under winner Amanda Spratt and two-time Giro Rosa stage winner Annemiek van Vleuten finished in second and fourth place respectively on today’s final stage of the ten-day WorldTour race, the Giro Rosa.

The two ORICA-SCOTT riders arrived at the finish line in a small group of general classification contenders after breaking away on the final climb of the race.

The stage result today meant van Vleuten successfully retained third place overall and won the Queen of the mountains and points jerseys along with Spratt moving up one spot to conclude the Giro Rosa in fifth place for the Australian outfit.

“For me the most important thing was to come away with two stage wins,” Van Vleuten said. “Third on GC is nice and to win two jerseys is also nice but winning is the best thing for me, I always want to win.”

“I am really proud of that and this is my first attempt to go for the GC. Our team was really good this week and I am really proud of what we achieved and how we prepared for the race.

“I made a really crucial mistake on a stage and that is also part of cycling, you have to deal with it and continue which was hard. That was the biggest challenge and to stay focussed for ten days, so I learnt my lesson the hard way but I came back with a lot of confidence.

“Both myself and Spratt were racing on another level this race, I think this has really inspired us to come back and target GC again, not only us two but the whole team.

“If you told me before I would win two stages, finish third on GC and be going for the win, I wouldn’t have believed it.”

Sport director Gene Bates backed up van Vleuten’s praise of the team in what was a great day and great ten-days for the squad in Italy.

“Today the girls were fantastic,” explained Bates. “There were two groups up the road, so we put the whole team on the front chasing to give Spratt and Van Vleuten the best chance possible and every opportunity to go for the stage win.”

“Our goal for this tour was to go for the overall which we haven’t really done before, especially with Annemiek. We prepared as well as we thought we possibly could, it was late last year we decided we would target this race overall with Annemiek and everybody committed to this target.

“I think the tour probably went even better than we expected with two stage wins, two jerseys and always being super competitive.

“It has been a massive success for the team, everybody committed all week to this project and we can be really proud of everybody’s efforts.

“We can’t overlook our mistake on stage four of the race where we lost over two minutes on the other GC riders. This was disappointing but in terms of overall it was big learning curve for the us all and we can only take positive out of that and now think about targeting stage races overall in the future.”

How it happened:

The final day of the ten-day Giro Rosa began with flat laps of a circuit before heading up a final climb of the tour.

Like many previous stages, the day saw aggressive racing with various breakaways heading off the front of the peloton then regrouping with the situation at the head of the race continuously changing.

During the final few laps of the flat circuit, a group of eight riders opened up a two minute advantage with ORICA-SCOTT driving the pace in the peloton in an attempt to reel them in ahead of the climb.

Finally with just a couple of kilometres remaining before the bottom of the main climb of the day, the group returned to the peloton and the real fireworks began.

Spratt and van Vleuten found themselves once again at the head of the race in a small elite group of climbers containing all the general classification contenders with just 10kilometres remaining.

The group survived to the finish line with Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) taking the stage win with Spratt taking second place.

The team wrap up this iconic women’s WorldTour race having achieved numerous goals and will look to target the GC once again in the future.

Giro Rosa stage 10 result:

1. Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) 3:09
2. Amanda Spratt (ORICA-SCOTT) ST
3. Kasia Niewiadoma (WM3) ST

Final general classification after 10 stages:

1. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) 25:39
2. Elisa Longo-Borghini (Wiggle-High5) +1:03
3. Annemiek van Vleuten (ORICA-SCOTT) +1:39