Amanda Spratt took one large step towards a third straight Women’s Tour Down Under title as her Mitchelton-Scott team dominated on the stage 2 finish on Mengler Hill.
The two-time champion took a convincing win on the first uphill finish of the race to put her well clear in the overall classification, with her teammate Lucy Kennedy sitting just behind in second place at 43 seconds. Krista Doebel-Hickok (Rally UHC Cycling) is third overall at 51 seconds.
Having missed out on the win to Trek-Segafredo on the opening day, Mitchelton-Scott were determined not to miss out on stage 2. On home ground, they put in a pitch-perfect ride on the short and punchy ride between Nuriootpa and Mengler Hill.
The Australian team used their might to take chunks out of the peloton, reducing it to little more than 30 riders by the time they reached the foot of the final ascent. It was only a matter of time before Spratt and Kennedy struck out, with Spratt soon leaving her teammate behind to win by 39 seconds.
“What can I say? My teammates were so amazing and whenever they ride so hard for you like that, you want to finish it off. We had a plan and when you can ride it to perfection as a team, it just feels amazing,” Spratt said.
“We had Grace [Brown] do a fantastic job in the three or four kilometres before the climb and then Lucy hit it. I had instructions to attack and bring no one with me so that’s what I did.”
Already on good form
A professional since 2012, Spratt took a breakthrough victory at the Tour Down Under when she won the overall title for the first time in 2017.
She backed that up with a second win last year and went on to enjoy undoubtedly her best season to date. Spratt’s 2018 campaign saw her add the Emakumeen Bira title as well as podium places at the Giro Rosa, the Amstel Gold Race, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and a silver medal in the road race at the World Championships.
Spratt showed that she was in good form with her win at the Bay Crits and second place at the Australian national championships. Kennedy’s second place is a ray of light for the second-year professional after a difficult debut season marred by injuries.
Spratt looks in a very comfortable place at the top of the overall classification but she will have to keep her wits about her when the race continues on Saturday with another uphill finish in Stirling.
“Obviously, today was a great day for us and puts us in a good position but we know tomorrow is still a tough day so we have to rest a little bit, celebrate a tiny bit and get ready for tomorrow,” she said.