2017 Season Wrap: ORICA-SCOTT women enjoy their best season to date

Mon 30 Oct 2017

A rainbow jersey, world number one ranked rider and 18 UCI victories highlight an unforgettable season for ORICA-SCOTT women in 2017 – without a doubt their best season to date.

After starting the season strongly in Australia, winning almost every race they started, the squad continued their momentum and performed consistently throughout the lengthy season to claim seven WorldTour wins, their first in history.

Sport director Gene Bates believes the rewards this season have come from having a selfless and committed squad of both riders and staff working in cohesion.

“The key to our most successful season yet has been a dedicated team of riders and staff committed to one another at every race we start,” Bates explained. “Not every rider can achieve the final result at the finish line, but behind the scenes is an incredibly hard working and honest group of riders, who all deserve recognition for their efforts.”

“We are very proud of our achievements, but this year’s success only spurs us on to greater things for next year. 

“We started off with a very strong summer in Australia with road, criterium and time trial national titles, overall success at the Santos Women’s Tour and Cadel’s race victories, before moving onto Europe.”

As always, the Australian outfit had a strong focus on the early season Belgium classics races and this year stepped up a level with impressive teamwork and results.

“We wanted to have a strong Classics campaign and with multiple riders we certainly achieved this,” Bates continued. “The opening weekend saw podiums from both Annemiek van Vleuten and Sarah Roy which gave us a great confidence boost for the rest of the Spring.”

“One of the big highlights of the Spring was Gracie Elvin's second place at the Tour of Flanders after some incredible team work and a lot of faith in the rider’s abilities.”

After taking confidence from their collective achievements in the Classics, the team stepped up again and went on to claim their first ever WorldTour victory which created great momentum and further results followed for the second half of the season.

“Every race we start we aim to win, and throughout the late spring we had several great results culminating at the women's Tour of Britain where we scored our first WorldTour victory with Sarah Roy,” Bates said. 

“Our next big target was the women's Giro-Rosa, it was the first time we really targeted the general classification and we put a lot of effort into getting the best out of the team for this. 

“Again, a fantastic and committed team put us right in the hunt for overall victory with Annemiek, coming away with multiple stage wins and a podium place overall. 

“This form carried through and saw Annemiek win in both La Course races at the Tour De France. The last part of our season was equally as successful, achieving podium placings or wins in almost all of the races we started.”

Dominating Down Under

The squad kicked off 2017 in style by dominating the Australian summer races claiming victories in almost every event. Katrin Garfoot impressed at the national championships to become a double champion in the road race and time trial with Jess Allen taking the criterium title. Amanda Spratt continued the winning ways claiming a stage win and the overall honours at the Santos Women’s Tour, but it wasn’t only the team’s Australian riders who tasted success as Dutch star Van Vleuten showed her early season form by defending the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race title for the team. 

Fighting in the Flanders fields

Two-time Australian champion Gracie Elvin showed her passion and determination to go out and target her goals after coming close to taking victory at the iconic Tour of Flanders. The team displayed great teamwork and commitment during the famous cobble classic, as Van Vleuten spent the day in the main breakaway, fighting to the finish line before Elvin waited patiently behind and as the race came back together in the final moments, she launched from the wheels and into a respectable second place.

Roy’s rise

After various wins and podiums at the start of the 2017 season, it was in June that Sarah Roy secured the team’s first ever women’s WorldTour victory at the OVO Women’s Tour. The win proved to be the biggest in Roy’s career and was the start of the team’s winning ways for the remainder of the season, eventually finishing the season off with seven WorldTour wins.

Rainbows and rankings

In her most successful season to date, Van Vleuten kicked things off with a victory at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in January and claimed a further ten UCI victories throughout the year on a variety of terrains which catapulted her to the number one ranked female rider on the UCI standings. She rounded off her phenomenal, dominating season with an impressive win in the UCI World Championships individual time trial, bringing the rainbow stripes to ORICA-SCOTT for the second time in the team’s history.

2017 UCI victories:

Michelton Bay Cycling Classic, stage 3 - Allen
National Championships Criterium - Allen
National Championships ITT - Garfoot
National Championships Road Race - Garfoot 
Emakumeen XXX Bira, stage 3 - Garfoot
SwissEver GP Cham - Hagendorn - Roy 
OVO Energy Women’s Tour, stage 4 - Roy
Michelton Bay Cycling Classic, stage 2 - Spratt 
Santos Women’s Tour, stage 1 - Spratt
Santos Women’s Tour, overall GC - Spratt
Emakumeen XXX Bira, stage 2 - Spratt
Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race - Van Vleuten
Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria - Van Vleuten
Emakumeen XXX Bira, stage 4 - Van Vleuten 
National Championships ITT - Van Vleuten 
Giro-Rosa, stage 2 - Van Vleuten 
Giro-Rosa stage 5 ITT - Van Vleuten
La Course by La Tour de France - Van Vleuten
Boels Rental Ladies Tour, prologue- Van Vleuten 
Boels Rental Ladies Tour, stage 3 ITT - Van Vleuten 
Boels Rental Ladies Tour, Overall GC - Van Vleuten 

UCI World Championship Results:

1st Individual Time Trial - Van Vleuten
2nd Road Race - Garfoot
3rd Individual Time Trial - Garfoot

Photo courtesy of TDWsport