Heartbreak for Spratt after daring solo attack at La CourseFri 19 Jul 2019
It was heartbreak for triple Tour Down Under champion Amanda Spratt as she was caught inside the final kilometre in a thrilling addition of La Course.
The Australian went solo heading onto the final lap and held a strong chasing group at bay before eventually being reeled in on the steep final ramp towards the finish in Pau.
Giro Rosa champion Annemiek van Vleuten was policing the chasing group and got up for seventh as Marianne Vos (CCC – Liv) raced clear to take the win.
The race got off to an aggressive start as a group of 12-riders attacked clear of the peloton with Australians Sarah Roy and Alex Manly getting into the move that opened up a gap of over one-minute during the opening lap.
With some riders in the group not contributing, the breakaway began to attack each other and Manly was distanced, leaving Roy as the lone representative in the group as the numbers dropped and the gap fell.
Back in the peloton Mitchelton-SCOTT were to the fore with Georgia Williams and Jess Allen on domestique duty for Van Vleuten and Spratt. And with the cooperation amongst the escapees failing, the gap to the bunch dropped rapidly and Van Vleuten sensed it was time for her to make a move.
Attack, Attack, Attack
The two-time winner of the race powered to the front of the peloton and upped the pace, with only around 30-riders able to go with acceleration as the break was swept up. The pace then slowed and a host of riders made it back on, but as they made contact Spratt launched a counter move. The attack was short-lived but it wasn’t long before another attack came.
However, nothing was sticking until Spratt edged clear ahead of the final lap, drawing out four riders from the bunch. The five riders opened up an advantage of 20-seconds before the bunch got within touching distance on the steep climb to the line, but as they closed in, Spratt attacked over the top and down the descent.
The recent Giro Rosa podium finisher quickly pulled out a 30-second gap on a unorgranised chase group that was being policed by teammate Van Vleuten. Spratt was again in sight of the chasers as the race passed over the uncategorised climbs, but again the chase faltered leaving the 31-year-old to stretch her advantage out once more. Under the three kilometre to go banner Spratt held a slender advantage, but it was heartbreak under the flamme rouge as Vos and the bunch sprinted past.
"I knew it was a good gap and it was sort of staying at that gap for a while and I had feedback that there weren't a lot of people left to chase from behind, so it was a good situation for us."
"We came in here knowing that Marianne Vos was the big favourite, so we wanted to create a situation where she was a bit more under pressure and I think that’s what it created. But I knew when it was only 10-second that it would be hard, especially the final kick before the line, it’s pretty much made for Marianne."
"The team rode really, really well and I had Annemiek van Vleuten behind, so I knew we had another super, super strong rider. So it’s always good for me when I can get away and Annemiek can have bit more of game to play behind."
Martin Vestby (Sports Director):
"I think it went to plan all the way up until 200-metres! We wanted an aggressive race and tried to make everyone really tired and isolate some of the top favourites and leave Vos alone in a difficult situation."
"I think it worked out pretty well, Van der Breggen had to work, Marianne had to do a little bit. It’s just a pity that we didn’t have anyone together with Spratty in the break or that someone attacked and changed the pace on the last lap there.
"But when you’re out there, you can stop, but you stop for nothing. So it’s sometimes best to just go for it and it almost worked."
La Course 2019 Results:
1. Marianne Vos (CCC - Liv) 3:15:20
2. Leah Kirchmann (Team Sunweb) +0:03
3. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla Pro Cycling) ST
7. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:07