Fourth for Spratt at Australian Road Race ChampionshipSun 7 Jan 2018
Two-time former winner Amanda Spratt narrowly missed out on the podium at the Australian Road Race Championship in Buninyong today, finishing in fourth place in a small elite group sprint finish at the final of the 104km race.
Mitchelton-SCOTT were on the front foot all day, putting in attacks from the first to the last lap in order to use numbers to their advantage but the cards didn’t fall their way in the final.
After completing her work for the team early, Alex Manly rode through the remainder of the race, finishing ahead of her young counterparts to win the under-23 title.
Whereas previous years have taken a number of laps for the action to kick off, it was on from the gun with a strong break of three forming on the first lap. Mitchelton-SCOTT rider Jessica Allen forced the move on the climb, taking Lauren Kitchen (FDJ) and Katy Perry (Specialized) with her. The trio reached a maximum advantage of four-minutes and 20seconds.
Lap six explosion:
A relaxed peloton sparked into action on the climb of the sixth lap and the pressure, applied by Mitchelton-SCOTT split the peloton into pieces. An elite group of 14 made the cut with Spratt, Lucy Kennedy, Gracie Elvin and Sarah Roy making the cut.
Elite group show class:
The last four laps were a showcase of Australia’s best women’s talent with countless attacks for the elite group of 14. In the lulls of the attacks, a chase group briefly re-joined but it wasn’t long before the pressure was on once again and the race split again.
Last lap chances:
As a small elite group of seven rode through to hear the bell for the final lap, riders took their final chances to make the difference. Shara Gillow (FDJ) and Spratt put in big efforts on the climb, whilst Katrin Garfoot tried an attack in the final three kilometres but she fell agonisingly short as a sprint eventuated in closing metres.
Amanda Spratt – 4th place:
“We went in with a plan, we wanted to be in the break and Jess did an awesome job of getting that happening on the first lap. The time gap went out to four minutes, we didn’t panic, we had a plan with four or five to go and we executed that.
“We did everything we wanted to do, it would have maybe been good to have more numbers in the last two laps but I really don’t think anyone could have done anything more, sometimes it just doesn’t go that way you want.
“Lucy was so strong, she tried everything she could and in my opinion she was still one of the strongest riders out there, especially on the climb. First road race with the team, it bodes well for this year, that’s for sure.”
Jessica Allen – Breakaway rider
“The plan was for me to get up the road in the first two laps. I wanted to see what was happening on the first lap but everyone was looking at each other and so I gave it a crack. I thought there would be a lot of people who wanted to be in the break so it would take a while to establish, but it was the first break that stuck.
“Hats off to Katy Perry particularly, she was really strong out there and I was struggling right from the start to be honest. She drove it every lap, she basically did 90% of the work out there so it was a top ride by her.
“I was trying to save as much energy as possible because I knew Spratty and others were going to come across and the fireworks were going to start with four laps to go. When she came across I just drove it as much as I could but on the climb I had nothing left.”