FEATURE: Where I ride - Amanda Spratt's preparation for the world championshipsFri 28 Sep 2018
Giro-Rosa third place finisher Amanda Spratt has enjoyed one of her most successful seasons and is in the final moments ahead of her final big test of the season, the UCI Road World Championships.
Spratt has continuously been improving her climbing which makes her quietly confident ahead of a hilly edition of the championships tomorrow in Innsbruck. With this, Spratt chose to spend her final preparation weeks at a well know altitude location for cyclists in Livigno, northern Italy.
Amanda Spratt - "I love this area of the world. When I am in the mountains then I feel like I am in my happy place. No matter how many efforts I might have for training I always feel motivated and excited to ride my bike with such beautiful scenery.
"I always love exploring on the bike, so being in new locations and finding places to ride is never stressful for me. Aside from the fact this is at altitude, when I am here then it is like a training camp for me and so it is a time when I am really focused and doing everything right and always thinking about the goals that I have and how I can become better.
"It was my final block of training before the world championships in Innsbruck where my big focus is the road race. I decided to go back to the region because I loved training so much here before the Giro-Rosa and I felt that my body responded very well to the training stress I had then. It was a decision I made with my coach, considering the world championships course this year it was worth coming back here and getting a good training block in after the Boels Ladies Tour."
But which is her favourite training loop?
"For me it’s hard to go past the Stelvio, it is a great combination of hard climbs, iconic climbs, great descending and a flat finish to spin the legs. In total it is 120kms with 3100m altitude gain.
"Starting in Livigno it’s climbing from the gun with the Eira Pass and then up to Foscagno Pass. After this you have over 20kms of descending to look forward to down to Bormio. From here the Stelvio Pass begins, this side of the climb is 22kms long if you go all the way to top. It’s such an iconic climb and even though I have ridden up it so many times I am always blown away every time I am back there.
"It’s easy to work out when you’re getting close to the top as the smell of the bratwurst stands waiting for you at the summit begins to overcome your senses. On a clear day the view here is absolutely amazing which is why I always make the effort to ride all the way to the top.
"After this it’s back down the same way you climbed for a few kms before taking the right hand turn into Switzerland and descending down the Umbrail Pass. The first year I was at Stelvio this was always a dirt road but in recent years it has been fully paved and it a great fun descent with many switchbacks to get you down to the valley floor in Switzerland.
"Here begins the final climb, the Offen Pass. Once that’s over it’s another descent to the tunnel that connects you back to Livigno, the Munt la Schera Tunnel. Cyclists are not allowed to ride through it anymore but there is a bike shuttle operating throughout the day that can take you and your bike through safely for five euros. After the little break it’s all flat through the galleria and tunnels next to Lake Livigno back to the town."
This year's world championships:
Training on the challenging terrain whilst at altitude is also a familar training area for Mitchelton-SCOTT team mate Annemiek van Vleuten. Like van Vleuten, Spratt has continued to step up each season and with a huge development on the climbs, which has seen her achieve six UCI race wins this season which includes two general classification victories (Tour Down Under and Emakumeen Bira) putting her in a great position for a very hard edition of the road world championships.
"This year is a world championships with a very specific course. With 2700m altitude gain in total it’s fair to say that it’s definitely a course where the climbers can come out to play. Like anything, to be good at something you need to practice it.
"I already went to Innsbruck in October last year to ride the course for the road race which I think was really invaluable as I have had such a clear picture in my mind of the course demands for almost a year now. Now I am basing myself where there are numerous climbs just like the one we will race up in Innsbruck which was very important for me to be able to prepare really well for this goal.
"I have been doing a lot of climbing and specific efforts to prepare me for any scenario on race day. It’s not just about doing everything differently all of a sudden though, I have been training and racing for so many years that I do know what works for me so still doing the basics well like nutrition, hydration and stretching are really important as well as doing efforts I know I respond well to."
We wish Amanda the best of luck for tomorrow!
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.