Amanda Spratt (ORICA-Scott) soloed to victory in Portarlington on the second day of the three-day Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic series. With the stage win, the Australian national road champion jumped up to second on the overall classification, two points behind stage one winner Valentina Scandolara (Alé).
"I've done 12 or 13 Bay Crits now," said Spratt. "This course is my favorite. I've been trying to win every year here and never have – and finally! I've only ever won one other one, in Williamstown, and every year I came here and say: ‘This is the year for Portarlington' and it's just never happened. I'm really happy."
Spratt's emphatic victory was a result of total domination by her team. The Australian squad split the race within the opening 10 minutes, putting all five riders in a 10-rider move before eventually sweeping the podium with Jenelle Crooks in second and Dutchwoman Annemiek van Vleuten in third.
"Yesterday we made a few mistakes," said Spratt. "We didn't use the numbers as best we could. Today we really wanted to make amends for that.
"Basically everyone on the team could have gotten away on the circuit," Spratt explained. "The main aim was to create a situation where there was a number of us on the front, and we could play to our numbers a bit more. We had the strongest and fittest team for the course."
ORICA-Scott perfectly played their numerical advantage on Monday. Having put the entire team in the initial split, Spratt and her teammates immediately set out to capitalise on their early work.
"We chose to drive that for a few laps even though everyone else was sitting on to get that gap consolidated," Spratt explained. "Then we could attack from there."
Spratt was the first to attack, and the move had staying power. Within one lap, she had pocketed 24-second over the chase group. It only took her five minutes to stretch the gap out beyond the minute mark.
"The first three or four laps, I drove it really hard to make sure I got the gap," said Spratt. "I could see the gap was going out quite quickly and I had information from [sport director] Gene [Bates] on the other side of the course, giving me the gap and telling me it was time to settle in. After a while, I could see the back of the peloton and relax a little bit as well."
Scandolara was isolated, without any teammates in the early split, but unfazed. While the situation wasn't ideal for the race leader, who won in Portarlington last year, it also wasn't the most threatening scenario.
"This lap suits me a lot, but I didn't have the numbers," said Scandolara. "My team suffered a little bit.
"When Amanda attacked, it was fine for me," added Scandolara. "She's not the fastest in ORICA. I'm like: 'If she wins, maybe I can still manage it.' It was ok for me because in that moment, they stopped attacking to let Amanda go."
A battle royale is shaping up for the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic yellow jersey with five riders in contention for overall glory. Although she's in for a chance to win the overall, Spratt insists the jersey is not a focus.
"We'll go in and try to win the stage again," said Spratt. "That's the main goal."
Scandolara is all in to win the series.
"I'm confident that my team will be there tomorrow again to try to control the race," said Scandolara. "Hopefully I will be there to do a good sprint in the end and keep the jersey."
"Tomorrow will be hard," she added. "I'm not denying that. I will keep fighting, and I will get dropped before I stop trying."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica-Scott||0:45:14|
|2||Jenelle Crooks (Aus) Orica-Scott||0:01:37|
|3||Annemiek Van Vleuten (Aus) Orica-Scott||0:01:38|
|4||Peta Mullens (Aus) Hagens Berman | Supermint|
|5||Yumi Kajihara (Jpn) Novotel Geelong / Japan|
|6||Valentina Scandolara (Aus) Alé Cycling||0:01:40|
|7||Sarah Roy (Aus) Orica-Scott|
|8||Minami Uwano (Jpn) Novotel Geelong / Japan|
|9||Shannon Malseed (Aus)|
|10||Jessica Allen (Aus) Orica-Scott|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Valentina Scandolara (Ita) Alé Cycling||17||pts|
|2||Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica-Scott||15|
|3||Peta Mullens (Aus) Hagens Berman | Supermint||13|
|4||Shannon Malseed (Aus)||12|
|5||Jenelle Crooks (Aus) Orica-Scott||10|
|6||Yumi Kajihara (Jpn) Novotel Geelong / Japan||10|
|7||Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Orica-Scott||9|
|8||Sarah Roy (Aus) Orica-Scott||9|
|9||Jessica Allen (Aus) Orica-Scott||9|
|10||Chloe Hosking (Aus) Alé Cycling||7|