Spratt shines for Mitchelton-SCOTT with third at Amstel Gold RaceSun 15 Apr 2018
Santos Women’s Tour Down Under champion Amanda Spratt produced a memorable performance at the Amstel Gold Race in the Netherlands today, taking third place for Mitchelton-SCOTT after animating what turned out to be the race winning breakaway.
It took while for the move to go and once it did Spratt was right in the thick of the action as eight riders went clear of a splitting peloton.
Most of the big teams were represented in the attack and the group carried a significant advantage into the finishing circuit before the winning moves came over the final ascent of the Cauberg.
When the final attacks came Spratt was on her toes and matched the moves before digging herself and leading over the top with Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) and Lucinda Brand (Team-Sunweb).
A stronger sprinter, it was Blaak who took the victory with Brand in second and Spratt in an impressive third to ignite Mitchelton-SCOTT’S Ardennes Classics campaign in superb fashion.
A fast and nervous first half of racing saw the peloton racing as a compact group over the early climbs before a series of accelerations saw splits form with 60kilometres to go and Spratt jumping clear in a small group of eight riders.
The leaders held 30seconds on the first half of the peloton as they entered the first of three closing circuits that all included the Geulhemmerberg, Bemelerberg and Cauberg climbs.
As the peloton regrouped behind Spratt’s group with 40kilometres to go, the eight leaders increased their advantage past two minutes and held the gap until the penultimate lap when an attack by Chantal Blaak split the lead group.
Spratt followed Blaak and was joined by four more as the group reformed to six going into the final lap with one-minute 15seconds over the peloton.
The Cauberg defines the finale:
Tentative attacks pre-empted the explosions that woukd come on the final ascent of the Cauberg with three kilometres to go and it was the acceleration of Spratt that truly split the group again.
Both Blaak and Brand had digs that Spratt marked before pushing on herself as the elite trio stromed over the top towards the line with Blaak taking the win from the three up sprint and Spratt in third.
Amanda Spratt - 3rd:
“It took a while for a move to go and there were three or four moves that I followed before one actually stuck and the fifth one I just latched on to the back and that was the group of eight that stayed away.”
“We worked together pretty quickly, and I thought it was a good group with a lot of fast girls, but I was feeling good on the climbs and I decided to wait until the final time over the Cauberg to see if I could split it there.
“I had to go with Chantal and Lucinda, they are both very fast riders and it was in our interests to stay with them and try to get gap over the top, but the end I was cramping a bit up the Cauberg the last time and wanted to keep the pace high and also hoping that I had something left for the sprint.”
Sport director Gene Bates:
“We had a plan to try and make the race as hard as possible in the beginning, but there was no wind and lots of the other teams were intent on blocking the action, so it remained together until Spratty’s move went over the last climb before entering the circuits”
“From last year’s race we knew where the move would go so getting someone in there was crucial and Spratty did great work up there. Surprisingly most of the big teams were represented, so the chase never materialised.
“Going on individual strengths we knew that Spratty had to try and soften up the other girls in that group and have a go over the climbs to stand a chance getting away and in the end we achieved a really positive result going into a big week of racing.”
Amstel Gold Race results:
1. Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) 03:24:17
2. Lucinda Brand (Team-Sunweb) ST
3. Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:03
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.