Spratt fights to fourth places and moves up to fourth overall in the Aviva Women's Tour

Fri 17 Jun 2016

Australian champion Amanda Spratt had a strong performance today, finishing in fourth place on the Queen stage and moving up to fourth overall after stage three of the Aviva Women's Tour.

Spratt found herself in the day's main breakaway, made up of eleven riders which formed 50kilometres into the WorldTour race. 

Three of the race favourites then bridged across to the break to make a large group of 14 and later in the stage the same trio went on to lead the race into the final with Spratt hot on their tails. 

On a fast, technical finish in Chesterfield, Spratt placed in a respectable fourth with Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) claiming the stage victory.

The 28-year-old was happy with her condition on today's hard stage, giving her confidence heading into the two remaining days.

"I'm really pleased to have made that group," explained Spratt. "I've had a really good block of training at home recently, very climbing focused, so for me it's a huge step to be in that group in the final." 

"I am a little disappointed with fourth, I probably didn't back myself in that group and panicked a little bit, but step by step it's coming together. I was there, in that front group and going for the win. 

"It was tough day out there, but I think because everybody knew it was the 'Queen' stage, the start of the race was a little more conservative than we thought.

"So it was mid-race when a move went and I was able to slip into it. It wasn't really the plan but I was in good position and could follow the wheels easy and in the end that was perfect for us. Katie Hall (United Health Care) was the only other rider in there that was high up on the general classification.

"It was the perfect scenario if I could stay out there, particularly to reach the steep second QOM ahead of the peloton, knowing that someone like Armitstead or Moolman could come across. 

"That's what happened in the end, three girls came across to the breakaway and I just really had to play it smart then and back myself. It was good to make that second break with four of us going for the finish.

"After finishing in that small group today I've moved up on the general classification, so that's good going into another hard stage tomorrow."

How it happened:

Team's congregated in Ashbourne ahead of the much talked about Queen stage. The 109kilometre stage, shorter than the previous two stages but with over 2000metres of climbing along heavy, up and down roads was set to be a difficult day.

To the riders relief there was no rain to add to the challenging stage, but instantly riders began to drop off the back with the continuous flow of climbs and descents along narrow roads.

At the start of the race Sarah Roy wasn't 100% and she decided to call it a day to focus on her recovery. 

A hard section of climbs, turns and descents caused significant splits within the peloton just before the half way mark, and soon after as the race headed through the feed zone at 50kilometres a group of eleven riders took off the front.

Spratt was the representative for ORICA-AIS as the leaders quickly established one minute and ten second with one rider from each team, aside from Rabo-Liv who had two girls at the front.

On the second QOM of the day, a nasty steep climb, the leaders maintained over a one minute advantage, however three riders, Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans), Ashleigh Moolman-Paso (Cervelo-Bigla) and Elisa Longo Borgini (Wiggle-High5) timed their efforts and attacked across to the breakaway.

The race leader Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) missed the move and subsequently sent her team to the front to chase in an attempt to defend the leader's jersey. 

The time gap dropped significantly and at that moment the original trio of riders that joined the breakaway, attacked again, this time taking with them the attentive ORICA-AIS rider, Spratt.

With just 15kilometres remaining the four riders led by over 40seconds as they approached the technically twisty finish. Spratt finished in fourth place with Armitstead sprinting to the victory and into the leader's jersey. 

Tomorrow the riders face another challenging stage 119km stage with hard climbs towards the final. 

Aviva Women's Tour stage three:

1. Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) 2:54:27

2. Elisa Longo-Borgini (Wiggle-High) ST

3. Ashleigh Moolman-Paso (Cervelo-Bigla) ST

4. Amanda Spratt (ORICA-AIS) +0:03

General classification after stage three:

1. Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) 9:55:59 

2. Ashleigh Moolman-Paso (Cervelo-Bigla) +0:07

3. Elisa Longo-Borgini (Wiggle-High5) +0:05

4. Amanda Spratt (ORICA-AIS) +0:14