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Elvin and Spratt to lead ORICA-AIS into 2016

Mon 19 Oct 2015

ORICA-AIS is pleased to announce the re-signing of two crucial leaders for the 2016 season.

Former national champions Gracie Elvin and Amanda Spratt have become instrumental in the heart and soul of the Australian outfit, leading by example both on and off the bike.

“Gracie and Amanda really know what the team ethos is and how we are going to get there,” sport director Gene Bates said. “They have really stepped up in that area, especially in the back half of this year, and it’s been fantastic to sit back and watch them develop.”

Both girls posted their breakthrough first European victories during the 2015 season. Elvin’s first win came in May at the Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik whilst Spratt got her reward at Giro del Trentino Alto Adige – Südtirol in June.

For Elvin, it felt like a long time coming.

“I had put a lot of pressure on myself over the Spring Classics and didn't quite get the results I was hoping for, so to get a win not long after was a relief as much as it was exciting,” she said.

“It gave me the confidence I needed to know I am heading in the right direction with my training, and to go for more results for the rest of the season. Only a month later I won another race and I finally felt like I'd earned my place among some of the best professional riders.

“I want to step it up again in 2016 and be consistently competitive with the top 20 riders in the world at the big races. The Olympic Games is my biggest goal for next year and I will be working very hard with that event in mind. I will also be focusing on the Spring Classics as theses are my favourite races of the season.”

Despite the wait, Bates and ORICA-AIS team management knew the 26-year-old from Canberra had what it takes.

“It took Gracie a little while to get her first European win but once she got it she really didn’t look back,” Bates said. “She won in Gooik, again at Thuringen and took multiple other placings too.”

“It really confirmed to us what we’ve been looking to get out of Gracie for the last couple of seasons - that ability to race a Classics style one-day race.

“She’s really maturing into that racer. We know she can win big races so teamed up with Annemiek (van Vleuten) I think we are going to have two very good Classics racers for 2016.”

Spratt rated her season as the best in her four-year career, and is excited to continue with ORICA-AIS as their only remaining founding member.

“Overall I was really happy with my 2015 season,” Spratt said. “I would say it was my best year to date in Europe and I felt like I made the step up in my fitness and performance level that I have been looking to do for a few years.”

“This will be my fifth season with ORICA-AIS, in fact I am the only remaining original rider in the team. For me, it has become like a family and I love the atmosphere and the feel within the team. I like the fact that when we race everyone knows what needs to be done but what is equally important is how we can relax off the bike and have fun at the same time. 

“2016 is an Olympic year and so that is something definitely motivating me for the next 12 months. The preparation for the season is already beginning now and I hope that next year I can visit the podium more or contribute further to success of my teammates.”

Not only results wise, Bates said Spratt also stepped up to shoulder much of the leadership responsibility after team captain Loes Gunnewijk retired mid-season.

“Amanda got her first European win this year at Giro de Trentino but along with that she has taken a massive leap this year in captaining the team on the road,” Bates said. “She has really stepped into Loes’ shoes, especially in those tougher times when things aren’t going our way. “

“That captaincy role is going to be really important for us again next year but also targeting those hillier one-day races which she really seems to enjoy and that’s where she is getting her results from.”

Gracie Elvin

Date of birth: 31st October 1988 (26)
Nationality: Australian
Turned pro: 2012

Palmares:

-       1st 2015 Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik
-       1st 2015 Internationale Thuringen Rundfahrt der Frauen - Stage 3b
-       1st 2014 and 2013 National Championship Australia – Road Race 

Amanda Spratt

Date of birth: 17th September 1987 (28)
Nationality: Australian
Turned pro: 2012

Palmares 

-       1st 2015 Giro del Trentino Alto Adige – Sudtirol
-       2nd 2015 Internationale Thuringen Rundfahrt der Frauen - Stage 2 and 6
-       1st 2012 National Championship Australia – Road Race

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