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Scandolara off to winning start at Santos Women's Tour

Sat 17 Jan 2015

An eager Valentina Scandolara has started her 2015 season on a winning note, taking out the first stage of the Santos Women’s Tour in Adelaide this afternoon.

Scandolara, who has been in Australia watching her teammates race over the past couple of weeks, was itching to get her season started and transferred that enthusiasm onto the bike perfectly with a solo victory.

“I was really looking forward to racing,” Scandolara said after the victory.  “I watched my teammates race at the Bay Crits and the nationals so I was really excited to begin my season in Australia.”

On paper, the short 59km stage from Woodside to Murray Bridge looked to be one for the sprinters, but after reviewing the route ORICA-AIS knew there were a few surprises in store.

As expected, racing was aggressive. Constant attacks saw the peloton break into pieces and the race finish 15minutes ahead of schedule.

Scandolara escaped from a lead group of 23 riders with less than 20km remaining, holding on to win by six seconds from a chasing bunch. Teammate Melissa Hoskins, also racing for the first time in 2015, sprinted for third.

“Our director saw the race yesterday in the car and he told us it was not really flat so I knew the profile and knew the little climbs were coming,” Scandolara explained.

“We wanted to make the race hard in the first climbs but everyone was too fresh, then in the part where the cross winds were we went as planned and broke up the bunch.

“We worked so well in the crosswinds and when we saw the other girls were a bit tired I attacked solo and I tried to get to the finish.”

After a clean sweep of victories in 2014, sport director Gene Bates was thrilled to continue the trend.

“Valentina came to Australia nearly three weeks ago now,” Bates said. “She has been training really well and we are really happy with her progress.  But for her first race of the season and to win solo is glorious.”

“I think we are in a good position now and we will look to defend her lead over the next three days.”

The Santos Women's Tour continues tomorrow with an evening criterium at 5:45pm prior to the People's Choice Classic.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARK GUNTER.

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