Mitchelton-SCOTT ready to defend their Santos Women’s Tour Down Under titleMon 8 Jan 2018
Later this week Mitchelton-SCOTT return to the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under as the defending champions with a strong six-rider team hoping to kick off their first UCI stage race of the 2018 season in style.
This year, the four-day event steps up to become a UCI 2.1 category race and with two hill top finishes, longer road stages and many international team’s on the start list, it is expected to be one of the toughest editions yet.
The 2017 overall winner Amanda Spratt will line-up alongside world time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten, who begins her 2018 season at the event, and with a balanced motivated Mitchelton-SCOTT team around them, they are prepared for the challenge of defending last year's title.
The event begins with three tough lengthy road stages that feature climbs such as Mount Torrens (11.1% gradient), Hahndorf (12.2% gradient) and Mengler’s Hill (14.4% gradient), before concluding with an evening criterium as part of the People’s Choice Classic.
Mitchelton-SCOTT team line-up:
Amanda Spratt- 2017 overall winner:
“I have great memories from winning the race last year so it’s a special feeling to head into this years edition as defending champion. It’s a race I love and I’m really looking forward to the harder courses in this years race. It’s definitely the best time of year to be a cyclist in Australia.”
“The race this year is very different to previous years. It’s good that we now have three longer road stages and just the one criterium to finish with. In my opinion that helps to raise the professionalism of the race.”
“The two hilltop finishes will definitely shape the race so I anticipate some really hard and aggressive stages. It can also get quite windy on some of the roads so it’s the kind of racing where you can’t afford to relax too much.”
“We go into the race this year with a really strong team. We were really happy with the process we went through as a team at nationals so I’m sure we can capitalise and further that in Adelaide. We have riders in great shape across the whole team so we can afford to race aggressively and go for both stage wins and the overall win.”
Gene Bates - Sport Director:
“The team is super motivated for the week, we have a great team for it on a tougher course than we have ever seen the women’s Tour Down Under.”
“It’s only a short stage race, so we really can’t relax or sit back, we will approach it like it is a series of one-day races and we have riders for all three road stages and different scenarios.”
Previously in the race:
In 2017, Spratt started the race by taking an impressive solo victory on the opening stage which catapulted her into an almost unbeatable lead.
With a strong support squad around her, Spratt and the team were able to defend their advantage and seal the overall race victory, with Spratt finishing 25seconds ahead of second place Janneke Ensing and 40seconds ahead of third place Kirsten Wild.
2018 Santos Women’s Tour Down Under race details:
Thursday, 11th January: Stage 1, Gumeracha to Gumeracha 115.7km
Friday, 12th January: Stage 2, Lyndoch to Mengler’s Hill, 102km
Saturday, 13th January: Stage 3, The Bend Motorsport park to Hahndorf 122.4km
Sunday, 14th January: Stage 4, Wakefield Road to Wakefield Road 46km
Photo courtesy of Con Chronis