Spratt secures fifth place overall in the third edition of the Aviva Women's Tour

Sun 19 Jun 2016

Australian champion Amanda Spratt retained fifth place overall for ORICA-AIS after the final stage of the Aviva Women's Tour.

The tour concluded with a 113.2kilometre stage into Kettering, with the day's early breakaway successfully staying away to the line. Lotta Lepisto (Cervelo-Bigla) sprinted to victory out of the leading group of seven that was just meters ahead of the peloton as they crossed the line.

Gracie Elvin was caught up in a crash in the final 600metres, leaving ORICA-AIS unable to contest the stage result, however sport director Gene Bates was very pleased with the overall strong performances from the riders throughout the week, capped off with a high placing with Spratt. 

"The break was only 100metres ahead of the peloton in the end," explained Bates. "It was touch and go whether or not they would catch them."

"The girls worked hard to try and bring the breakaway back contributing to the chase with around 30kilometres to go, in an attempt to set Gracie up for the finish.

"It's just unfortunate that Gracie came down in the crash, but I can't fault the team efforts to get her there for the final." 

On the third stage of the tour - the hardest, hilliest of the week - Spratt climbed into a breakaway of four riders which gave her valuable seconds to jump into the top five overall in the general classification.  

"It's really great seeing Amanda finish highly on the general classification," Bates continued. "It's probably her best result this season and with the result coming on the hard, Queen stage of the tour, it really shows that she's in a really good place at the moment."

"She's looking really good for Olympic selection for Australia and also for the next tour we have coming up, Thuringen, where she raced very strongly last year. She's definitely coming into great form at the perfect time. 

"Overall it's been a strong week for the team, bit of bad luck with some crashes but we were still able to finish in fourth place on two stages, and all the riders raced really well." 

How it happened: 

The riders took to the start line in Northampton ready for the final stage of the 2016 tour. The race started with a nervous bunch with the general classification still up for grabs, just 17seconds dividing the top five places with intermediate sprints and final stage placings providing valuable bonus seconds.

An easier route than the two previous days provided a stage with the potential for a bunch sprint or an early breakaway and as the start flag dropped riders instantly tried to break up the race.

Just before the peloton headed up the first Queen of the mountains after 29kilometres, a group of eight riders successfully rode out to over one minute.

Loren Rowney was part of the move representing ORICA-AIS, however as the leaders set a blistering pace up the steep QOM, it proved too much for Rowney who dropped back into the bunch.

The peloton hesitated and after a lull in pace with no teams committing to a chase, the seven leaders suddenly held a large four-minute 30second time gap. 

The overall race leaders, Boels-Dolmans, along with Rabo-Liv felt the danger and started the chase with around 40kilometres to go quickly reeling the leaders back to a one-minute 30second advantage.

In the final ten kilometres the breakaway hovered just over one minute, eventually coming into the peloton's sight in the closing kilometres. But the chase was not enough and the breakaway maintained a small gap to cross the line ahead of the peloton. 

Lepisto sprinted to the victory with ORICA-AIS's highest place finisher Spratt in 26th position.

Overall, the team wrap up an eventful week with the two fourth places from Elvin and Spratt on stage two and three respectively and a top five overall in what has shaped up to be one of the most competitive races on the women's calendar.

ORICA-AIS will be back in action on July 7th in the Czech Republic for a four-day tour ahead of the next big team goal, Thüringen Rundfahrt.

Aviva Women's Tour stage 5 results:

1. Lotta Lepisto (Cervelo-Bigla) 2:57:31
2. Marta Bastianelli (Ale-Cipolloni) ST
3. Elena Cecchini (Canyon-Sram) ST
26. Amanda Spratt (ORICA-AIS) ST 

Aviva Women's Tour general classification:

1.  Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) 16:00:39
2.  Ashleigh Moolman-Paiso (Cervelo-Bigla) +0:11
3. Elisa Longo-Borgini (WIggle-High5) +0:13
5. Amanda Spratt (ORICA-AIS) +0:20