Spratt sprints to podium from break on stage 2 at Festival Elsy JacobsSat 2 May 2015
Former Australian champion Amanda Spratt has finished third from a breakaway that narrowly held off a closing peloton on stage two of the Festival Elsy Jacobs in Luxembourg this afternoon.
Spratt escaped with three companions on the second last lap of the 9.8km finishing circuit, the quartet establishing a 40second lead before the peloton responded to finish a narrow two seconds behind. Elena Cecchini (Lotto Soudal Ladies) took the victory.
“The whole team rode really well today,” Spratt said. “We had a plan and the whole team stuck to it so it’s pretty rewarding when everyone can see that too.”
“For me personally, I had a rough trot when I got to Europe with illness but I had a really good training block and the last races I have done since Fleche Wallonne have been really positive for me.
“I knew the form was there it was just about backing myself, it’s my first European podium in a long time.”
The initial selection on the first climb of the penultimate lap was the result of an attack by ORICA-AIS teammate, Swedish champion Emma Johansson. Spratt then sticking to the wheel of the subsequent winning move shortly after.
“It was inside two laps to go and Emma made a really strong attack on the first climb and that basically left a group of only 12riders over the top of the climb and going down the decent,” Spratt explained.
“Then you take a sharp U-turn and start the second climb and Lucinda Brand of Rabobank attacked and I got straight on her wheel. There was two of us and then two other riders, Elena Cecchini and Janneke Ensing, came across to us on that climb.
“Everyone was committed to the move, so we were working together to make it to the finish.”
As the race came to its conclusion Spratt was confident of staying away, using her experience to time her sprint to the line.
“I thought we would survive because I knew with about two or three kilometres to go we still had 40seconds so it was still a bit of a buffer,” Spratt said.
“In the last one and a half kilometres people stopped working and there was a little bit of foxing so it was a pretty close call.
“We are here to go for stage results and I always make the mistake of going too early and coming last in the sprint so I was really determined not to panic, to stay calm and use my opportunity which I did and it paid off.”
Sport director Gene Bates was thrilled to see the strong full team performance deliver one of their best results this European season.
“Today was super pleasing,” Bates said. “Probably the best team result we have had all year.”
“Coming into this race I said we wanted to finish this period on a positive note and we have certainly taken steps in the right direction both yesterday and today.”
The Festival Elsy Jacobs concludes with a final road stage tomorrow. With a less selective finishing circuit, it has traditionally resulted in a bunch sprint.