2019 Season Wrap: Title defence, consecutive victories and a rainbow jerseyWed 23 Oct 2019
Mitchelton-SCOTT women wrapped up the 2019 season in China yesterday with an impressive tally of 18 UCI victories, which included a successful title defence at the only women’s Grand Tour of the season, the Giro-Rosa.
The team achieved wins from all around the world and from six different riders, including six WorldTour races. The icing on the cake came at the world championships, where Annemiek van Vleuten claimed a phenominal solo victory to take her first ever rainbow jersey in the road race.
These consistent results saw the Australian outfit finish in third position in the UCI Women’s Team ranking and with the new world champion Van Vleuten, finish in second place in the UCI Women's Individual WorldTour ranking.
Time Trial Titles
Georgia Williams was the first rider to kick start Mitchelton-SCOTT women’s winning ways in 2019, by claiming a second consecutive victory at the New Zealand time trial championships. The success continued shortly after with a dominating performance from new signing Grace Brown, who her took her first ever victory in Mitchelton-SCOTT colours at the Australian time trial championships.
Later in the year over in Europe, Van Vleuten added a third national time trial title to the team’s collection for the year, as she took her fourth national time trial title in the Netherlands.
Hat-Trick Down Under
Two-time winner of the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under, Amanda Spratt, showed her experience and maturity to deal with the pressure of returning to an event as the defending champion, enjoying a stage win on her way to securing an impressive third consecutive overall victory in the team’s home race. It was an extra special result, with Spratt being the first ever rider in the event’s history to take a hat-trick of consecutive overall wins.
Despite a very uncertain start to the season, following an injury sustained at the 2018 road world championship, Van Vleuten returned to racing in Europe, putting any doubt behind her by winning her first Women’s WorldTour race of the year, Strade Bianche.
The Dutch superstar continued with an impressive run of form throughout the Spring Classics, finishing in second place at the iconic Tour of Flanders, Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne races before grasping a fine victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege in horrendous conditions, to make it the women’s team’s most consistent Classics period in history.
To win a Grand Tour once is a huge achievement but to return as the defending champions and win again is something special. Mitchelton-SCOTT women and staff spent hours preparing for the 2019 edition of the Giro-Rosa with 100% focus, commitment and with extensive planning and recons of stages, they arrived in optimal position to try for another victory.
Van Vleuten showed her intent on stage five by climbing away from all her main rivals to move into the race lead by over two minutes. The defending champion went on to claim two more stage wins, with Spratt and the team giving full commitment to finish in first (Van Vleuten) and third place (Spratt) for a second year running.
The end of season highlight was the team recieving their first ever rainbow jersey on the road. This came thanks to Van Vleuten’s unheard-of 105kilometre solo victory at the world championships where she secured her first ever road race title.
The 37-year-old will bring the rainbow jersey to Mitchelton-SCOTT for the fourth time, following on from her previous two time trial titles (2017 and 2018) and Judith Arndt’s time trial title back in 2012.
Martin Vestby - Sport Director
“2019 has been one of the most successful years for the team and one of the most consistent. It could be that we won more races last year but the quality of the races that we have won this year has been really high and we have also been on the podium and there really fighting for the victories in a lot of different races.
“We are really happy with the season, there’s still improvements to be done and we lacked a little strength in some of the racing blocks and so that is something that will be the focus to improve on in 2020.
“It is always hard to defend something, one thing is to reach the top but it’s another thing to stay there. I think Annemiek is such an impressive rider in that kind of way, so to come back this year and win the Giro-Rosa as the defending champion was special and also having Amanda Spratt on the podium there again.
“We had a strong team and not just on the bike but off the bike as a whole group and that is probably half of the work. We put a lot of work into that race, from all the staff and all the riders.
“I think we can play quite different scenarios and be able to win in different ways and that was one of our strengths this year. We showed that when we want the race to be ridden in a certain way we take initiative and we make that kind of race. That is commitment and when you have a team that really stands behind its tactics and plans, then when you have riders to finish off those plans the job is really fun for everyone.”
“The team is getting stronger and stronger and this year, of course Annemiek has been a superstar but it has also been really nice to see others riders stepping up. These have been highlights for me, to see riders like Lucy Kennedy, she works so so hard for us during the year then when she is given an opportunity she just nails it and that helps to lift the whole group.
“It is never easy to go back to a race as the defending champion, in Australia for example, we had a lot of pressure to perform and especially after the national championship. I think this showed how we’ve really matured as a team, everybody knew their role well and their job and so it was very special to be a part of and win again also like the Giro.”
2019 UCI race victories:
- National Championships - ITT New Zealand - Georgia Williams
- National Championships - ITT Australia - Grace Brown
- Santos Women’s Tour Down Under - Stage 2 - Amanda Spratt
- Santos Women’s Tour Down Under - Stage 3 - Grace Brown
- Santos Women’s Tour Down Under - GC - Amanda Spratt
- Women’s Herald Sun Tour - Stage 2 - Lucy Kennedy
- Women’s Herald Sun Tour - GC - Lucy Kennedy
- Strade Bianche - Annemiek van Vleuten
- Liège-Bastogne-Liège - Annemiek van Vleuten
- Durango-Durango - Lucy Kennedy
- Emakumeen Bira - Stage 2 - Amanda Spratt
- National Championships - ITT Holland - Annemiek van Vleuten
- Giro-Rosa - Stage 5 - Annemiek van Vleuten
- Giro-Rosa - Stage 6 ITT - Annemiek van Vleuten
- Giro-Rosa - General Classification - Annemiek van Vleuten
- Clasica Femenina Navarra - Sarah Roy
- Clasica San Sebastian - Lucy Kennedy
- Boels Ladies Tour - Prologue - Annemiek van Vleuten
- World Championships - Road Race - Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands)
Photos courtesy of Getty Images/Sara Cavallini