Mitchelton-SCOTT take minor podium places at Cadel Road RaceSat 26 Jan 2019
Climbers Lucy Kennedy and Amanda Spratt have taken the minor placings, finishing second and third respectively, at the Deakin Women’s Race as part of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
After their Mitchelton-SCOTT teammates put the pressure on in the final 30km, the pair crested the final classified climb up Challambra Cresent in the lead group of five riders, but Arlenis Sierra (Astana Pro Team) bridged across in the closing kilometres, before winning solo in Geelong.
Solo efforts flavour of the day:
Despite the reluctance of the majority of the peloton, Be Pink sent solo riders up the road on three occasions.
Rachele Barbieri was the first to try, in search of the sprint classification, before her teammates Silvia Valecchi and Nicole Steigenge also tried their luck out front alone, but were not match when the intensity picked up in the closing phases.
Putting on the pressure:
With a clear plan and needing a hard race, Mitchelton-SCOTT put on the pressure with 30km to go. Sarah Roy was the first to put down the hammer, followed by Jessica Allen, and the peloton stretched out with the pressure.
Trek-Segafredo joined in at the front of the peloton, and whilst the bunch had reduced, it was still all together at the bottom the main climb just inside the final 10kilometres.
Climbers rise on Challambra:
As expected, the Challambra Climb cleared out the field, with the superior climbers coming to the fore. Ashleigh Moolman (CCC-Liv) put on the pressure from the bottom with only Spratt and Elisa Longo-Borgini (Trek-Segafredo) able to immediately follow. Over the top, Kennedy and Brodie Chapman (Tibco) also joined them as the five crested the top with a small advantage.
The undulating roads to the finish on Eastern Beach saw Sierra bridge across to join them. Kennedy used another uphill ramp to get a narrow advantage on the lead group before Sierra joined her and then rode the Australian off her wheel.
Behind, Spratt tried to attack the second group, but it wasn’t enough as Sierra went ahead to a solo victory, with Kennedy and Spratt crossing the line together behind.
“The first couple of hours wasn’t particularly tough but those last 20-25km were really really hard.
“I was really looking forward to it, I could tell from the beginning that I had good legs, the team rode so strongly there to set it up but Sierra was just super strong and unfortunately I couldn’t quite get there.
“There’s pros and cons of being a team that everyone looks to. I’m sure they were expecting us to make that final hard, and that’s what we did, we just couldn’t quite pull off the win.
“I was doing a lot of work trying to set Spratty up, she couldn’t quite get away (on Challambra), there was a few girls climbing really well, so it came down to a group of five or six of us. I managed to slip away on the last little climb but Sierra was just so strong and I couldn’t hold her wheel. Then Spratty tried to jump across but just couldn’t quite get the gap down.”
“Sierra had an amazing ride. We know for last year, she was getting WorldTour podiums and she was up there in a lot of harder hilly races, so she is certainly a strong rider and she had an incredible ride today.
“It was going really well. After that final climb Lucy got away which was good. Arlenis got across to her and she was so strong and Lucy just couldn’t quite get there. But Lucy has been getting better and better each race and it was good to give her that opportunity.
“I could see ahead that Lucy had been dropped so I knew at that moment I had to go. Sierra already had a gap and she had a strong ride so we have to give her credit.
“We’re not super frustrated. Arlenis Sierra had a super strong in the end, I don’t think we did anything super wrong in the race. The team rode brilliantly, the team had a plan, we were really patient. You see all my other teammates absolutely killed themselves for us and set us up for the final.
“I think we walk away pretty proud actually. Sometimes you’re really disappointment with a second place, but I think in this case we are actually proud of the way we raced.”
Cadel Road Race – Women’s Race Results:
1. Arlenis Sierra (Astana Pro Team) 3:07:10
2. Lucy Kennedy (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:19
3. Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:19
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.