Spratt retains overall lead as Van Vleuten takes fourth on stage three of Emakumeen BiraFri 24 May 2019
Defending champion Amanda Spratt retained her overall lead at Emakumeen Bira as teammate Annemiek van Vleuten took fourth on a brutal day in the mountains.
Spratt came home in fifth place to keep hold of the leader’s jersey heading into the final day of racing tomorrow, with another tough day in the Basque mountains expected.
The stage got underway under rainy skies as the peloton headed into the steep hills for the first time. It wasn’t long before the attacks came, with 10 riders including Durango-Durango winner Lucy Kennedy making their move in the opening kilometres.
Mitchelton-SCOTT assumed their position at the head of the bunch as they kept the gap in check while looking after race leader Spratt. The escapees were brought back in time for the first of the intermediate sprints, with Spratt once again taking the maximum three bonus seconds.
As the race approached the first categorised climb of the day three riders jumped clear of the peloton and opened up a gap of over 50 seconds. However, their advantage soon fell on the slopes of the climb as the reduced bunch reeled them back in before the summit.
With the escapees caught, Tayler Wiles (Trek-Segafredo) launched a counter attack on the steep slopes and crested the climb ahead of the pack. The American continued to press on and had a 30-second advantage as she hit the final ramp to the finish line.
The chase behind was led by Mitchelton-SCOTT, with keeping Spratt in the overall race lead the priority of the day. As Wiles passed through the three kilometres to go banner she looked set for the stage and despite the chase closing in she held on for the win, while Van Vleuten took fourth behind.
“It was raining and cold for most of the stage so it was fairly miserable weather-wise. The team were great today in supporting me, it was a tough day for everyone especially after yesterday’s stage and we knew that we needed to control it well before the hard climbs started with 20-kilometres to go.”
“Various groups tried to get away but we had Jess (Allen), Gracie (Elvin) and Alex (Manly) monitoring them and then controlling the bunch into the base of the longer climb. Lucy then did a great job up the final climb. When Tayler went we didn’t panic, we just stuck to our plan and Lucy did a great job of controlling the gap.”
“Leading into the final climb Movistar took over the chase. Vleuty looked after me on the final climb, I’m really grateful for what she did for me there and I’m happy I can still be in the leader’s jersey heading into the final stage tomorrow. The GC is still really close but we still have two very good options with Annemiek and me, so we are confident and ready to fight.”
Emakumeen Bira Stage Three Results:
1. Tayler Wiles (Trek-Segafredo) 2:37:43
2. Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) +0:21
3. Soraya Paladin (Alé Cipollini) +0:25
4. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
Emakumeen Bira General Classification after Stage Three:
1. Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 8:10:37
2. Soraya Paladin (Alé Cipollini) +0:05
3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) +0:12
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.