Amanda Spratt leads Mitchelton Scott one-two at the Women’s Tour Down Under

Australian takes a 43-second lead into the final two stages

There was a return to business as usual at the Women’s Tour Down Under on Friday, with Amanda Spratt taking the win on Mengler Hill.

The Mitchelton-Scott rider has won the overall for the last two years, and seems set to make it a third victory after beating team mate and Australian compatriot Lucy Kennedy on the uphill finish. American, Kristabel Doebel-Hickok (Rally UHC) placed third.

The winning move came at the foot of the final climb of Mengler Hill, after Mitchelton-Scott set up their climbing duo. At the bottom of the 2.8km climb, with an average gradient of seven per cent, it was Kennedy who attacked first, drawing out their rivals and reducing the leading group to just 13 women.

After sitting on, Spratt, who finished second at the Innsbruck World Championships last September, then attacked. Soon only her and Kennedy remained at the front, but by the time Spratt entered the final kilometre the chasers had lost sight of the eventual winner.

How it happened

The riders set off from Nuriootpa, rolling through the Barossa Valley vineyards, with conditions a vast contrast to stage one, the 31 degree heat double that of yesterday’s opening stage start.

Another contrast were the early attacks, with Rebecca Wiasak (UniSA Australia) and Deborah Paine escaping the clutches of the bunch within the opening 20km of the 116.7km race after a combative opening.

The pair soon gained a lead well in excess of two minutes, with Wiasak, a double world individual pursuit champion, taking the day’s first intermediate sprint, while behind a further group of five attempted unsuccessfully to break free from the peloton.

The leading duo’s advantage eventually settled at around 2-30, only reducing  in the final 50km when the Trek-Segafredo team of race leader Letizia Paternoster began working at the head of the race.

With just over 40km to go, once again it was Wiasak who took the intermediate sprint points as the mercury reached 36 degrees, and by the time the race entered the closing 25km, the gap was below 30 seconds.

With just seven kilometres remaining the leading duo were finally caught, with Mitchelton-Scott leading the way, positioning Spratt and Kennedy for the final climb. 

The win puts Spratt in pole position for a third consecutive overall success in the race. 

Last year 31 year-old Spratt won following a similar move in the corresponding stage, and she now takes a 43 second lead into the final two stages.

While tomorrow’s 104km stage rolls all day and kicks at the end, it is unlikely to trouble Spratt, and a third successive success at her home race seems likely.

Results

Santos Women’s Tour Down Under, stage two: Nuriootpa to Mengler Hill (116.7km)

1. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott in 3-12-20
2. Lucy Kennedy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 39 seconds
3. Kristabel Doebel-Hickok (USA) Rally UHC at 45s
4. Rachel Neylan (Aus) UniSA Australia at 50s
5. Jaime Gunning (Aus) Specialized Women’s Racing at 53s
6. Alison Jackson (Can) Team Tibco-SVB at 1-01
7. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) CCC-Liv at 1-10
8. Lauren Stephens (USA) Team Tibco-SVB at same time
9. Taryn Heather (Aus) Specialized Women’s Racing at 1-13
10. Emily Roper (Aus) UniSA Australia at 1-16

General classification after stage two

1. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott in 6-23-38
2. Lucy Kennedy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 43 seconds
3. Kristabel Doebel-Hickok (USA) Rally UHC at 51s
4. Rachel Neylan (Aus) UniSA Australia at 1-00
5. Jaime Gunning (Aus) Specialized Women’s Racing at 1-03
6. Alison Jackson (Can) Team Tibco-SVB at 1-11
7. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) CCC-Liv at 1-20
8. Lauren Stephens (USA) Team Tibco-SVB at same time
9. Taryn Heather (Aus) Specialized Women’s Racing at 1-23
10. Emily Roper (Aus) UniSA Australia at 1-46