Brave ride by ORICA-AIS at the Australian road race championshipsSat 10 Jan 2015
A brave race by ORICA-AIS, including two strong moves by Amanda Spratt, lit up the Australian women’s road race championship in Ballarat this afternoon.
But a defense of the team’s national jersey was not to be for 2015, new recruit Lizzie Williams the top finisher in sixth position behind Peta Mullens who took out the championship.
Spratt and Williams joined 2013 and 2014 winner Gracie Elvin as the team’s three representatives, keen to be the aggressors of the 102km race.
“The idea was to try and send a rider out early so Gracie Elvin and Lizzie Williams could feed off that and get an easy ride to the finish,” sport director Gene Bates explained.
“Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out that way, Gracie was a little bit outnumbered and ran out of legs at the finish there.
“At one stage there we were really hopefully that things would turn our way but unfortunately we missed the move of Peta Mullens and that was the critical move of the day.”
Williams initiated the first move of the day, establishing a break of four riders ahead of the descent on the second of ten laps of the Buninyong circuit.
The quartet survived for just one lap before Spratt, in line with ORICA-AIS’ aggressive mantra, went to the front in a solo move. The 27-year-old gained a maximum advantage of one minute 20seconds before being caught on the climb on the sixth lap.
But Spratt’s day wasn’t over, surprising onlookers when she made her way into a second move alongside Bridie O’Donnell with two laps remaining before the final and winning move of Mullens and Rachel Neylan.
“We know what we get with Spratt,” Bates said. “She is a very reliable rider and opitimises professionalism in women’s cycling.
“She wasn’t afraid to get out there and really try and open up the race for her two teammates.”