Orica-AIS go two for two at Santos Women’s Tour

Italy’s Scandolara maintains race lead ahead of stage 3

Orica-AIS is on a role at the Santos Women’s Tour winning their second consecutive stage on Sunday in Adelaide with Melissa Hoskins, while also maintaining their lead in the overall classification with Italian all-rounder Valentina Scandolara.

“I was really confident because I trust my teammates 100 per cent,” said Scandolara, who won stage 1 in Murray Bridge. “Our tactic today was for me to be safe, far from crashes or problems and then I had to stay with Mel for the last lap to protect the wheels."

Scandolara won the opening stage on Saturday after a late-race solo effort that earned her a six-second lead in the overall classification. Her teammate Hoskins, who was third in the opener, improved on that performances with a win during the stage 2 sprint in Adelaide, beating Kimberley Wells (High Five Dream Team) and current sprint leader Annette Edmondson (Wiggle Honda).

“I was sprinting and looking underneath because I knew I had gone early,” Hoskins said. “I knew I had form yesterday having gotten over the hills and sprinted well. I’m not going too shabby. I seem to be in a pretty good knick.

“Keeping the jersey was the number one priority. It was the number one target. Anything else is a bonus. We’re pretty stoked.”

Not only did Scandolara retain the blue leader’s jersey, Hoskins win moved her up into second place overall. “The idea was – the plan was to retain the jersey,” said the team’s director Gene Bates. “We have a really classy rider in Valentina who can climb, sprint, time trial, the whole lot.

“We’re confident she can wrap up the whole thing. The plan today was to allow her to conserve. We also wanted to deliver Mel as best we could to the finish and let her defend for herself.”

The Women’s Santos Tour will continue on Monday with a 71km race from Tanunda to Campbelltown.

“It will be a harder day tomorrow then today but I think my job will be petty much the same – be confident in my teammates, control the race, be in the breakaways that are really dangerous, and see how it goes. Try to keep it and try to win the race like today,” Scandolara said.

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