Mitchelton-Scott has confirmed Amanda Spratt will line out at the Santos Women's Tour in defence of her overall title. Spratt was fourth at the national road race championships Sunday in preparation for the 2.1 race and is ready for the new climbing friendly parcours.
"I have great memories from winning the race last year so it's a special feeling to head into this years edition as defending champion," said Spratt. "It's a race I love and I'm really looking forward to the harder courses in this years race. It’s definitely the best time of year to be a cyclist in Australia."
Spratt's 2017 victory was built off the back of a solo attack and stage win stage one. With the addition of two climbing stages, the 30-year-old expects a tougher challenge in 2018.
"The race this year is very different to previous years. It's good that we now have three longer road stages and just the one criterium to finish with. In my opinion that helps to raise the professionalism of the race," she said.
"The two hilltop finishes will definitely shape the race so I anticipate some really hard and aggressive stages. It can also get quite windy on some of the roads so it's the kind of racing where you can't afford to relax too much."
Time trial world champion Annemiek van Vleuten makes her season debut at the race and will be a super domestique for Spratt across the four stages. New signing Lucy Kennedy also adds climbing support while Sarah Roy will target the sprint days with Jessica Allen and U23 national champion Alexandra Manly rounding out the roster.
"We go into the race this year with a really strong team. We were really happy with the process we went through as a team at nationals so I'm sure we can capitalise and further that in Adelaide," Spratt added. "We have riders in great shape across the whole team so we can afford to race aggressively and go for both stage wins and the overall win."
"The team is super motivated for the week, we have a great team for it on a tougher course than we have ever seen the women's Tour Down Under," sports director Gene Bates added.
"It's only a short stage race, so we really can't relax or sit back, we will approach it like it is a series of one-day races and we have riders for all three road stages and different scenarios."
Mitchelton-Scott for Santos Women's Tour: Jess Allen, Lucy Kennedy, Alexandra Manly, Sarah Roy, Amanda Spratt and Annemiek van Vleuten.