In Her Own Words: Amanda Spratt Previews Le Samyn

Tue 26 Feb 2013

Coming off a successful start to their European campaign, ORICA-AIS lines up for Le Samyn on Wednesday. The team will field an identical line-up to the one that that propelled Tiffany Cromwell to her first Classics victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. In her own words, Amanda Spratt previews the Belgium circuit race.

Our race beings with 38 kilometre loop. From there, we complete four laps of a 21 kilometre circuit. Le Samyn is a UCI 1.2 race and part of the Lotto Cycling Cup, so it is an important race for Belgian women's cycling. 

In Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, we endured many cobbled sectors. In Le Samyn, we just have one cobbled climb: the Côte de Montignies sur Roc, which we race up four times in the final circuits. This race has many typical features of Belgium races including the concrete roads, short sharp climbs, technical sections and some cobble. If the wind is strong, weather can also play a factor.

Last year was the first time I raced Le Samyn, and while the race came down to a bunch sprint at the end, this is no normal sprint. The gradual uphill gradient for the last 600 metres means that timing and a well-organised team is critical to success.

We will approach the race on Wednesday the same as we do every race. We are always racing to win. We haven't had a team meeting yet to discuss tactics, but we know that we have a very strong and organised team. As we did in OHN, we want to make sure we can take control of things and race in a way that allows us to make the most out of whatever race situation emerges.

Le Samyn is one of the first races of the European season. As such, it is the first time that the whole peloton comes together to race, and the first chance teams have to really make a mark on the 2013 European season. There is also a lot of history to some of these races. The opportunity to race over these famous roads and climbs is something exciting in itself. The people here are cycling-mad and the atmosphere is always great....even when we are frozen to the bone and dreaming of hot showers!

The main strength for our team is that we are 100% committed to each other out on the road. We have a good mix of cobbled-veterans such as Loes [Gunnewijk] and Emma [Johansson] and then riders like [Sungeun] Gu who rode over cobbles for the first time at OHN!! The classics have always been a big target for the team, and so we have all prepared well over the off-season to ensure we can all give the most to the team once we are out racing.

With Tiff’s win on Saturday, along with such a strong showing by the team as a whole, we’ll have some pressure on us to perform. I think this is a good thing. Other teams will certainly look to us to control and animate, but we know how to use that to our advantage. Having said that, there are many strong teams and strong riders so it certainly is not a one horse race by any means. We are excited by our success at OHN, and it makes us more motivated to continue with good results and good performances. We took a lot of confidence out of how organised and strong we were as a team at OHN. We’re eager to continue the momentum we've created.

ORICA-AIS for Le Samyn:
Amanda Spratt (@AmandaSpratt)
Emma Johansson (@emmaprocyclist)
Gracie Elvin (@gracieelvin)
Jessie MacLean (@aussiejessmac)
Loes Gunnewijk (@loesgunnewijk)
Sungeun Gu (@eun1709)
Tiffany Cromwell (@tiffanycromwell