Spratt takes another second place at Thuringen to move into fifth overallWed 22 Jul 2015
2015 Giro del Trentino Alto Adige – Sudtirol winner Amanda Spratt has claimed another second place on stage six of Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen today.
The result, from a two-rider breakaway formed in the final 25km, backed up her performance from stage two and increases ORICA-AIS’ run of podium places to five days.
Spratt’s fellow escapee Katie Hall (Team USA) claimed the stage honours, benefiting from the drive of the Australian.
“We put everything into trying to improve my position on general classification so I was really driving that break and doing a lot more work than her,” Spratt explained.
“I probably did 80% of the work out in front, but we were looking for seconds.
“That’s the decision we made and it puts us in a really good position.”
Finishing 39seconds ahead of the peloton, it moves the 27-year-old into fifth overall, one place behind teammate Emma Johansson. At 32 and 30 seconds respectively, the pair both sit within striking distance of leader Lisa Brennauer (Velocio-SRAM).
“We now have two of us that the leaders have to watch,” Spratt said. “It’s a really strong position to be in and tomorrow is another hard day and the weather isn’t supposed to be good either, so that will suit us.”
“We are ready to go and fight again.”
An earlier move of seven riders made the first break of the day, including ORICA-AIS’ Gracie Elvin. As their advantage came down, Johansson bridged across to force the Velocio chase.
It was with 25km to go that Spratt escaped and pushed hard for the line.
“In the beginning a breakaway of seven went and we had Gracie in there,” Spratt said. “That was really ideal for us because we knew in the latter stages of the race it was going to be hard so we wanted someone to ride across to if it unfolded like that.”
“We got to a bigger climb at about 70km and that brought the gap down to about a minute and we used some smaller, steeper climbs afterwards to put a lot of pressure on Velocio.
“Emma put in a really good attack and bridged across to Gracie’s group and that put them on the back foot behind.
“When Velocio did manage to pull the group back, I immediately attacked to take advantage. I got away solo and then Hall came across to me.”
The Thüringen Rundfahrt concludes tomorrow with a 98.9km stage around Greiz.
Sport director Martin Barras provides his accounts here:
The queen stage of the race had a bit of everything.
It had climbs but in all honesty, not the kind that would define the race as we would have expected. It was long and hot and really took its toll on the bunch, but not to the extent that it was smashed. And we find ourselves still chasing the overall lead.
Today, we were keen to put out some positive racing and really take some risks. Try to be smart and set things up to then go after what we want.
The girls have made it into a motto: We are here to smash things up... Or words to that effect.
The 129km stage from and into Schleiz had a couple of longer categorised climbs as well as a few uncategorised hills. It provided the opportunity for a bit of tactical racing and we certainly attempted to put that to use.
Expecting race leader Lisa Brennauer's team would be happy with a long ranging break to neutralised the attacks at the back, we ensured to get one of us (Gracie Elvin) in the early move to get up the road. This happened around km 15 and very soon the break of seven riders - Gracie, Kupfernagel and Zanner (MaxxSolar), Hogan (TIBCO), Kitchen (Hitec), De Bat (Zannata Lensworld) and Aubry (Bigla) - progressively moved through the gap with an advantage ultimately culminating at four minutes by km 50.
The chase got on in earnest until near the top of the first climb (around km 80), when Spratty attacked for the first time. This move was unsuccessful in breaking away but started to add up a bit of pressure. By then the gap to the leaders had dropped to just under 50seconds and the benign nature of that first big climb looked like robbing us of an opportunity to implement our motto.
Nevertheless, we stayed patient and over the next climb, at km 103 and with the break having gained then lost time, Emma put down the first really threatening attack since the beginning of the Tour.
The not so original idea was to use our rider in the break (Gracie) to drive any gap created by one of us coming across to the break. Emma got to the break quickly and our two riders worked hard at driving in their advantage. Behind, the expected strong reaction from Velocio raised the pace and for a few short minutes, it looked as if the race was in the balance.
Velocio managed to control the break and Spratty followed the catch with a superbly timed counter attack that snapped off the main group immediately.
Katie Hall (USA) was the only one to respond and the Velocio lead bunch now engaged in a control exercise against a very determined Spratty, who was chasing a time gain towards GC, and an equally determined Hall looking for a stage win.
I have been watching Spratty race for many years now, and in all honesty, this was a master class in the art of the breakaway. The commitment, effort, risk taking and skills displayed were outstanding and it is credit to Velocio that they contained the break's time gain to 40seconds by the finish on a selective Schleiz course. Hall won the stage with Spratty moving to fifth overall, within 3 seconds of a podium whilst Emma sits 4th, 3 seconds ahead.
So this leaves us with only tomorrow's selective circuit around Greiz to complete our aim of winning here. And all we can promise is that we won't leave without one more go at ....ing things up!