Emotional and dramatic day sees Spratt finish second on stage 2 at Thuringen

Sat 18 Jul 2015

2015 Giro del Trentino Alto Adige – Sudtirol winner Amanda Spratt finished a surprise second place on stage two of Internationale Thuringen Rundfahrt der Frauen after a late crash involving two riders and a wrong turn by the leader on the road made for a dramatic final in Germany today.

As Spratt rolled over the line one second behind Eugiena Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana) the pair assumed it was for second and third positions, only to be advised that Bujak had in fact won the stage.

In what was a dramatic finale, leader Tayler Wiles (Velocio- SRAM) took a wrong turn after two riders behind her crashed on the descent.

“There was a final 14km loop with a hard climb to start with,” Spratt explained. “The break was down to six riders on that climb before it settled down a little bit.”

“Then there was a technical section with cobbles and a few corners and Tayler was leading down there with another two riders behind her and ahead of me.

“Those two riders both crashed on the descent and Tayler attacked straight away and got a gap. She was away solo but then at some point between then and the finish, she actually took a wrong turn.

“Our group then became the leaders on the road, but no one realised it until after the finish. Eugiene didn’t know she had won and I thought I had come third.”

Earlier in the day, ORICA-AIS teammate Emma Johansson picked up more bonus seconds in an intermediate sprint to continue her bid for overall honours. Spratt and Johansson now sit second and seventh respectively.

Not only was it a successful day for the Australian outfit, it was also an emotional one as they paid tribute to Amy Gillett who lost her life training for the Thuringen Rundfahrt ten years ago today.

“It was a really positive day on the road,” Spratt said. “Everyone had another good ride today and we are in a good position heading into the next day of racing.”

“It was also a pretty emotional day. We went to a memorial for Amy this morning and it’s always very emotional to think about that day.

“I had been racing with them just before the accident. It’s emotional. She has really touched the hearts of a lot of Australians.”

Sport director Martin Barras give us his wrap of the day's proceedings:

It has been hot since we got to Germany 3½ days ago but today the temperature cooled down and the racing hotted up!

Yesterday’s short introduction stage in Gotha was just that. Crevettes! Entrees! Hors dÓeuvre!

Today the fun started in earnest.

The second stage started and finished near the Thuringenhalle in Erfurt, a city in east Germany that was made the administrative centre of Thuringia after the second World War. It went 105km with a couple of bonus sprints and a couple of Queen of the Mountain challenges.

After a strong ride with little reward yesterday, we were keen to maintain good racing discipline but improve our returns. Our plan remained similar to stage 1: stay present in breaks and gather bonus seconds in the sprints. But with a solid GPM only 11km from the finish we were also keen to get aggressive over the finale and see what sort of result we could get.

Yesterday, Lady Luck deserted us when we lost Mel to illness before the race started: today she breathed upon us!

First up was the business of the first intermediate sprint. As an important feature of our race we had studied carefully its location and the terrain leading to it so you can imagine our surprise when it popped up a full 5km earlier than detailed in the road book. Luckily, both Chloe McConville and Emma Johansson were together near the front of the bunch when the 1km to go sign came up and they stitched it up together for a second place for Emma and a couple more bonus seconds.

With 50km to go, over the top of a long uncategorized climb, a small group took up the road, with a few singles then jumping across to it. Eugenia Bujak (BTC Ljubljana) had already been soloing off the front for few km and was soon joined by Tayler Wiles (Velocio), Brzezna- Bentkowska and Anna Plitchka (TKK Pacific), Miriam Bjornsrud (Hitec), Joelle Numainville (Bigla), Allie Drago (USA) and our own Amanda Spratt.

We were all pretty happy with this as Spratty presented a good option for both a stage win and a GC result, depending what happened. The break hovered around 45seconds to a minute ahead of the bunch, loosing Numainville to a puncture, until the final QOM at 12km to go. We expected both the break and the bunch to detonate on it but to our surprise the break remained relatively intact (Bjornsrud was dropped) and ditto for the bunch. So with less than 10km to go, now in drizzling rain and over cobbled street, we had a gap of 30seconds from the break to the bunch.

On the cobbled descent, both Drago and Plitchka dropped themselves just behind Wiles and in front of Spratty and that gave Wiles the opportunity of a solo break, something she is very adept at! We were cursing our bad luck when the next call came in: Spratty, Bujak and Brzezna- Bentkowska were now fighting for the win. It took us a while to realise that Wiles had been misdirected on the course and was now chasing the break!!

Lady luck back on our side.

As the break approached the finish, the mood in the car was very spirited. It’s a build up of anticipation, expectation and incantations that normally winds up into a frenzy until the winner is announced on radio Tour…

Except that it took forever for the call to come.. So the come down was long and drawn out and the fizz had washed out of it by the time we heard Spratty got second.

This leaves us in a good place for the all important time trial tomorrow morning. We now have Spratty and Emma starting from inside the top 10 with Gracie Elvin and Sarah Roy sitting just out side of it. If we can come out of it with three riders still in GC contention, we will have a good day and can build the rest of our race from this.

And although the presence of current World Time Trial Champion (German Lisa Brennauer) puts all and one in its shadow, I am betting an old two dollar note that Spratty could be in the jersey after the race.

Until then.

Martin Barras.