Scandolara wins Santos Women's Tour, Hoskins takes ORICA-AIS' third stage victoryTue 20 Jan 2015
2014 Giro del Trentino winner Valentina Scandolara has successfully defended the leader’s jersey she claimed on day one to take out the Santos Women’s Tour following tonight’s final stage.
In a fairytale finish for ORICA-AIS, teammate and stage two winner Melissa Hoskins took out her second victory winning the evening’s criterium from a bunch sprint.
Scandolara’s victory marked the Italian’s first professional stage race general classification win.
“It’s been wonderful these past few days and today all these people saw how great ORICA-AIS is. It was amazing,” Scandolara said.
“Once again we kept the jersey and we got the win so I am really really happy.”
With overall victory the main priority, Scandolara led from the front working with her ORICA-AIS teammates to control the race and shut down any moves.
“We couldn’t break up the bunch but that was still alright because we have a great sprinter in Mel and we played that card controlling the race for the jersey and doing a great lead out during the last lap for Melissa.
“There was many attacks but I was really confident because my teammates and I were always there.”
The first split was formed after six laps of racing, with a strong group of 23 riders pushing the pace at the front after a series of sprint and queen of the mountain point opportunities.
But strong winds ensured favourable conditions for ORICA-AIS and the race rejoined together on the 14th lap.
Despite late attacks, the race arrived at the finish for a bunch sprint, ORICA-AIS executing a great lead out to secure the day’s double.
“We won three out of four stages and I am pretty happy to walk away with the last one,” Hoskins said. “It’s been awesome to be back with the girls, I haven’t ridden with them since last year and they backed me in 100% today.”
“We wanted to keep the jersey, we did that, and we walked away with the stage win so we will be happy tonight.
“It doesn’t happen often like that and it’s not often we can pull off a lead out sprint like that either. It just all fell into place.”
At the end of a successful four days racing, the team finished with three stage wins, first and second overall and the team’s classification.
“It was a dream finish,” sport director Gene Bates said.
“It was really a team victory tonight. The girls rode their heart out to keep the jersey and for the sprint and they finished it off perfectly.”
PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARK GUNTER.