Spratt sprints to seventh in Sweden

Sun 21 Aug 2016

Australian road race champion Amanda Spratt had a strong ride today in Sweden today to finish in seventh place for ORICA-AIS in the 15th WorldTour race of 2016, Crescent Vårgårda

Spratt found herself in a breakaway group of nine riders which successfully stayed away until the finish line.

The Australian rider, fresh from the Rio Olympic Games, tried some late attacks but in the end the race concluded in a reduced group sprint won by Swedish rider Emilia Fahlin (Ale-Cipollini).

“Amanda is in good form and she knows where to place herself in the races,” explained sport director Gene Bates. "I think that's what happened today rather than form as she's just flown back from Rio.  She was suffering in the final, cramping a fair bit, but still had some really good attacks towards the end.”

“We knew Spratt wasn’t the fastest finisher in the group and so she needed to attack coming into the finish, and she really gave it a good shot."

A new 53kilometre loop was introduced to the race this year which included four dirt road sections where ORICA-AIS worked hard to pick up the pace and try to create a breakaway group between the sections.

“The girls were really good today," continued Bates. "We wanted to make the race difficult and try to get a group away.”

Jess Allen had a really good attack and Alex Manly also, but once that group went away it was a case of waiting to see if it would be successful or not.”

“Amanda can definitely be happy with today's result given the travel and everything the past two weeks at the Olympics and is really looking forward to GP-Plouay and Holland Ladies Tour up next.

“It's all very positive signs going into the next races and for Amanda next weekend in Plouay which will suit her even more."

How it happened:

The riders took to the start line in Vårgårda with an early 8.15am start ahead of the 141kilometre race.

Many of the big names were present including many riders from the Rio Olympic Games. With just three races remaining in the WorldTour series it was an important race for the teams. 

The day began aggressively as the riders covered four laps of an 11kilometre circuit. With technical aspects and a small but wearing climb per lap the race soon began to string out. 

Nicole Hanselmann (Cervelo-Bigla) was the first to attack, riding out to a two minute advantage over the peloton to animate the first part of the race. By the time the peloton completed the second of four dirt road sections, the solo leader was reeled back in and the real action started. 

ORICA-AIS tried to maintain good position into each of the dirt road sections to avoid problems and attacking after each to try and create a breakaway. 

On the final dirt section the pace lifted and a small group was able to break free including Spratt for ORICA-AIS along with many strong riders.

The nine leaders worked well together to establish a solid gap and with one rider from each of the main teams present the peloton were happy to let the group stay away until the final. 

In the closing kilometres Spratt tried a few times to get away but was quickly reeled back in as the group behind produced a fierce chase with two riders closing in on the leaders.

Eventually the race came down to a sprint between the nine leaders with Emilia Fahlin (Ale-Cippollini) sprinting to the victory and Spratt having to settle for seventh place.

Next up for ORICA-AIS is the penultimate race of the WorldTour series, GP de Plouay-Bretagne.

Crescent Vårgårda results:

1. Emilia Fahlin (Ale-Cipollini) 3:35:31
2. Lotta Lepisto (Cervelo-Bigla) ST
3. Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) ST
7. Amanda Spratt (ORICA-AIS) +0:03