ORICA-AIS looking to continue success at Santos Womenâ€™s Tour as Spratt debuts green & gold jerseyTue 12 Jan 2016
ORICA-AIS will travel to Adelaide this week for the Santos Women’s Tour beaming with confidence having posted five wins already in 2016.
Recently crowned 2016 Australian champion Amanda Spratt will make her race debut in the green and gold jersey, and accompanying her is new Australian time trial champion Katrin Garfoot.
Joining the pair is 2015 SwissEver GP champion Lizzie Williams, new signing American Tayler Wiles, 2016 Australian championship bronze medalist Rachel Neylan and Victorian Chloe McConville.
“We’ll be aiming for stage victories and also the overall,” ORICA-AIS sport director Gene Bates said. “We’ve got a couple of riders that are moving really well at the moment and over the course of the four days there will be plenty of opportunities that will present on tough courses that we can really make a difference,” Bates said.
After winning the two previous editions, ORICA-AIS will look to make it three wins in a row this year as they return to the Santos Women’s Tour.
“Everyone in the team is in great form,” Spratt said. “We’re going to have to be really smart with the way we’re racing to make the most of the fact that we’re all in form at the same time,” Spratt said.
“The hilly road stages are really suited to me. Last time we had a road stage to the Barossa Valley I won that stage. I like the climb there, I like the run into the finish so I know that's a course I can definitely win,” Spratt said.
The now two-time national champion is relishing the opportunity to debut the green and gold jersey in Australia on Saturday.
“It’s really great, I think it’s finally sinking in that I won it,” Spratt said. “It’s kind of like the dream start; having the green and gold jersey to race in your own country and having everyone there cheering, really knowing what that jersey means.”
Raising the stakes this year, the Santos Tour Down Under has now been classified as a UCI 2.2 race which will bring more talent, particularly from overseas.
“I think this year's race is going to be completely different,” Bates said. “It’s now a UCI sanctioned race and they’ve really done a top job of professionalising the race.”
“They’ve got international teams coming out and the standard of racing is obviously going to be a bit higher than we've seen in the last two years.”
The Santos Women’s Tour begins on Saturday, 16 January with a lumpy road stage, whilst stage two on Sunday is raced on the criterium circuit prior to the men’s People’s Choice Classic. Stage three heads to the Barrossa Valley, before the fourth and final criterium challenge on Tuesday, 19 January.
ORICA-AIS at the Santos Women’s Tour:
Katrin Garfoot (AUS, QLD, 34)
Chloe McConville (AUS, VIC, 28)
Rachel Neylan (AUS, NSW, 33)
Amanda Spratt (AUS, NSW, 28)
Tayler Wiles (USA, 26)
Lizzie Williams (AUS, VIC, 32)
Santos Women’s Tour – Race Details:
Sat, 16 Jan: Stage 1, Mount Torrens to Mount Torrens, 95km
Sun, 17 Jan: Stage 2, People’s Choice Circuit, East End Adelaide, 20.4km
Mon, 18 Jan: Stage 3, Lyndoch to Lyndoch, 100.8km
Tue, 19 Jan: Stage 4, Victoria Park, 1.2km