Spratt takes second Australian road race championship

Sun 10 Jan 2016

Former national champion Amanda Spratt has claimed her second green and gold jersey, taking out the Mars Cycling Australia National Championships today in Buninyong.

Spratt approached the finish line of the ten-lap, 102km race with Ruth Corset (QLD) but got the jump with an early sprint from 300m to go to claim victory.

“I was feeling really strong out there,” Spratt said. “I know in a really hard race I can actually sprint pretty well in the end.”

“I know Ruth is a strong sprinter so I had to be really really smart with the way I rode. We had the numbers behind if it came back together so I knew I could play that card a little bit too.

“I was trying to be patient and I think I still went with 300metres to go. It’s one of those finish straights - you can see the finish from so far out and you know it’s a national championship - I got a little bit excited.

“I knew for me I had to make it a bit of a longer sprint because Ruth is quite punchy. I had to make it more of a drag race and getting the jump on her also helped.”

The victory is the 28-year-old’s second national title after winning in the team’s inaugural season in 2012.

“The first one was probably a little bit unexpected,” Spratt said. “This one I came in knowing that my form was really good.”

“Certainly through the Bay Crits I could feel that, although I certainly kept a low profile heading into today which was fine for me.”

With seven starters, ORICA-AIS’ numerical advantage was hyped up in the lead up to racing, but the tactics had to be smart to pull off a final result.

2014 national criterium champion Sarah Roy went on the move on the third lap alongside Louisa Lobigs (NSW) and the duo remained in front until they were joined by four chasers, including Spratt, on the penultimate lap.

Spratt praised the work of Roy who rode herself into the ground for the team.

“Coming into the race we obviously had a good numerical advantage and we were really able to use it this year,” Spratt said. “Having Sarah Roy out there in the early break was a great situation for us.”

“We didn’t have to panic, we could sit in the peloton and relax and have the other teams wondering what we were going to do. Once we started those moves, we really meant business.

“Getting across to Sarah was great. She was cramping, she was absolutely done but she just said ‘what do I do?’, she gave me every last bit of energy she had and then I knew it was up to me to finish it off.”

Sport director Gene Bates was thrilled to take the jersey to Europe with the team.

“It was a massive team effort today,” Bates said. “It could have been any one of seven riders out there and they really supported each other and backed each other right to the end.”

“It’s great the jersey is going to be raced in Europe and is going to be really prominent. That’s a good mark of respect for the national championships and Australian racing.”

How it happened:

It was a settled start to the elite women’s road race championship, a steady pace keeping the bunch together for the first two of ten laps.

On the third time around, Roy escaped alongside Lobigs and the duo rode out to a two-minute 40second advantage with four laps remaining.

As the peloton rode around to receive three laps to go, their pace quickened as the main contenders started to think about the final to come.

Four chasers, including Spratt, bridged across to the lead pair on the penultimate lap but once they hit the climb for the last time, the strength of Spratt and Corset shone through and they distanced their companions.

The pair approached the final kilometres with a handy advantage as three chasers, including ORICA-AIS’ Rachel Neylan and Katrin Garfoot, worked behind.

As Spratt raised her arms over the line for victory, Neylan crossed shortly after Corset to claim the bronze medal.