Mitchelton-SCOTT women with opportunistic attitude for Strade BiancheWed 28 Feb 2018
They might not enter with a pre-race favourite, but Mitchelton-SCOTT women will line up at Strade Bianche this Saturday with an opportunistic attitude that can surprise many.
The Australian-registered team has plenty of riders ready and willing to take their chance as they roll out without their strongest performer at the race in recent years - Annemiek van Vleuten - whilst she races at the track world championships.
New Zealand champion Georgia Williams and Tour Down Under champion Amanda Spratt showed good strength at opening weekend just days ago, whilst the forecasted cold and wet weather provides ideal conditions for the likes of Gracie Elvin to thrive.
Numbers in the final. With the potential of bad weather, Strade Bianche could prove a gruelling race on Saturday.
The goal for Mitchelton-SCOTT is to work to arrive at the conclusion of the longest section of gravel, San Martino in Grania, which is also a challenging climb with numbers at the front. From there, the game is on and the team will play its cards.
Finishing in the top 15 in all editions of the race, Mitchelton-SCOTT has improved on their best performance every year they line up at Strade Bianche, with Annemiek van Vleuten finishing in fifth position in 2017. Amanda Spratt has also shown she is around the mark, with an eighth-place finish last year.
Georgia Williams – New Zealand champion:
“I’m really looking forward to Strade Bianche. It’s one of my favourite one day races because it has a bit of everything. It’s exciting to watch and to race!
“It will definitely be a race of attrition with the constant undulating course and the weather conditions predicted are also going to add another element of difficulty. The key will be trying to survive with numbers going into the final.
“The girls are excited and hungry for a podium place.”
Gene Bates – Sport Director:
“Missing Annemiek is obviously something we will notice, but I think we have a really well-rounded team here – more of an opportunistic team than a clear favourite but sometimes that’s nice going into the race as a bit of an underdog with nothing to lose.
“Spratty is getting better and better. She is targeting later in the spring, but we are really pleasantly surprised at how well she was going already at opening weekend so we can expect to see a lot from her. Also, Georgia Williams is super strong.”
“It really comes down to what race it is. It could be completely feral in terms of the weather which could throw up a whole new set of challenges come race day, but it is the kind of race where it will dwindle down and if you have numbers in the final then you can we a lot with that.
“After the feed, there’s a longer gravel section with a really solid climb in it. It depends on what the wind is doing there, we have seen the race completely blow to pieces in previous years and other years it’s been a head wind and it’s stayed together for a lot longer.”