Leader's jersey safe following penultimate stage of Santos Women's Tour

Mon 19 Jan 2015

ORICA-AIS has safely retained the blue leader’s jersey on the penultimate and toughest stage of the Santos Women’s Tour.

A select group of eleven riders, including four ORICA-AIS, contested the final sprint with Melissa Hoskins and current race leader Valentina Scandolara finishing second and third respectively. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Down Under) took out the stage.

After obtaining the lead courtesy of a solo victory by Scandolara on day one, and backing it up with a second stage win to Hoskins, the priority remained with the overall victory.

Today’s 136.2km stage from Tanunda to Campbelltown offered the most dangerous challenge, but strong teamwork made for easier conquests.

“It was really hard out there but I felt really safe with all of my teammates all of the day around me,” Scandolara said.

“Ruth Corset is really strong, we knew that, and she went away but then all of my teammates were there in the bunch and they drove the descent and we caught her back.

“We controlled the race and in the final there was many attacks but we managed to close them and to be two or three in any move and then we ended in the little bunch together.”

An evening criterium is all that stands in the way of an overall victory for Scandolara, the Italian confident she has the team to pull it off.

“I am really confident because today was the most difficult stage and I felt like a politician with bodyguards, really safe.  And tomorrow I think we can do that and we can also get a good result for the team,” Scandolara said of the task ahead.

For sport director Gene Bates it was a case of another plan perfectly executed by the team.

“The girls rode exceptionally well,” Bates said. “They didn’t have to do any work in the early part of the race and as soon as we hit the climb the plan was always to get as many numbers in the front group as possible.” 

“To have four in that front group of eleven, we couldn’t have asked for more.

“We are certainly confident going into tomorrow but we won’t count our blessings until it’s all over. We still have a tough ride to make sure everything goes to plan.”