Stage 2 of the girls’s Santos Tour Down Underneath was all the time one the place the riders chasing GC had been going to be on excessive alert, with the climb of Mount Lofty simply 10km earlier than the tip. Though it wasn’t onerous sufficient or lengthy sufficient by itself to tug out large gaps, three-time race winner Amanda Spratt was nonetheless decided to take full benefit, figuring out all too properly that, on this three-day tour, each alternative counts.
The primary stage was one for the sprinters, leaving simply the 90km stage 2 and the 93.2km stage 3 with the Corkscrew climb to form the overall classification. Nearly as good as Spratt’s climbing legs now look to be once more – after a tricky two years the place she struggled with Iliac artery endofibrosis and the restoration from it – she wasn’t ready for the ultimate stage to attempt to chase a fourth title along with her new Trek-Segafredo staff, who ramped up the tempo after the ultimate intermediate dash in Summertown with 15km to go.
“I mentioned to the ladies that I felt superb at present and that is the plan, ‘I need to go full fuel after that dash’ they usually actually set it up tremendous properly,” Spratt informed reporters on the sidelines of a sizzling stage on Monday. “I knew as quickly as we obtained in to the steepest bits (on the Mount Lofty climb), that’s the place I wished to go – we didn’t die questioning, put it that manner.”
On the climb of Mount Lofty, Spratt’s teammate Brodie Chapman, sporting the jersey of the Australian champion, took the ultimate flip on the entrance, setting a ferocious tempo. Then Spratt launched with a stinging punch and noone may comply with, so the hole was shortly established, however now she needed to maintain it by means of the descent. However as the gang lining the obstacles strained to see the primary rider spherical the ultimate bend, the chase was closing in.
“There have been just some too many riders left in that chase group they usually obtained fairly organised fairly shortly and I saved believing all the way in which to the end nevertheless it was simply 500m too lengthy for me,” mentioned Spratt.
Alex Manly (Jayco-AlUla) gained the stage and stepped into the ochre jersey of the race chief, with Georgia Williams (EF Schooling-TIBCO-SVB) in second and Nina Buijsman (Human Powered Well being) stepping in to 3rd. Spratt took tenth, holding onto the chase as soon as caught to complete on the identical time as Manly for the stage, however with bonus seconds coming into play – from each stage 1 and stage 2 – Spratt is now fifth general with a 14 second hole to shut.
“If something we are able to achieve a variety of confidence at present from the way in which we raced, actually caught to our plan, and I used to be feeling actually good on the climbs so I feel tomorrow is a a lot tougher climb and we simply have to depart completely nothing on the market,” mentioned Spratt. “We’re going to give it all the pieces now we have and we’re nonetheless dreaming of that ochre jersey and I nonetheless assume with the staff now we have right here it’s nonetheless attainable.”
The Corkscrew climb at 85.7km into the 93.2km race is the plain level to make a distinction on stage 3, however with a Ladies’s WorldTour victory at stake something may occur.
“I need to attempt to get a spot on the Corkscrew tomorrow, that may be the best state of affairs however now we have obtained fairly a couple of kilometres earlier than that so we must see how that performs out as properly,” Spratt mentioned. “I feel we are able to nonetheless win this race.”