Amanda Spratt has signed a new two-year contract to stay with Mitchelton-Scott through 2020. The Australian, who is currently enjoying her off-season, made her contract-renewal announcement in a post on Twitter on Tuesday.
"Excited to share the news that I'm with Mitchelton-Scott for 2019/20. Big goals and dreams ahead and I can't wait to chase them with such a special team," Spratt wrote.
Spratt signed on with Mitchelton-Scott, then Orica-AIS, in 2012 and had the best season of her career this year. She won a stage and the overall title at the Santos Women's Tour Down Under, a stage and the overall title at Emakumeen Bira, a stage and third overall at the Giro Rosa, and she was second in the elite women's road race at the UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck in September.
"This year has definitely been my best season, I set really clear goals and really put my hand up as a leader," Spratt said in statement on the team's website. "The team believed in me and this also gave me a lot of confidence. In general, I feel that the whole team has really stepped up a level this season so when your teammates are so strong as well, this really makes a difference."
Spratt told Cyclingnews at the World Championships that she was "undecided" at that time whether she would renew with the team. But she also spoke about her working relationship with coach and Mitchelton-Scott director Gene Bates, and attributed much of her success in the mountains to his training programme. She also spoke about being teammates with time trial world champion and Giro Rosa winner Annemiek van Vleuten.
"Gene Bates is my coach and the Mitchelton-Scott DS," Spratt told Cyclingnews. "He has also had a lot of influence on Annemiek van Vleuten, too, with her confidence and challenging her, and making her believe that she can be a top climber. Having a teammate like Annemiek, who knows how to suffer on a bike, you can't help but admire that.
"Gene has also been good at motivating and inspiring me and making me believe that I can do something that I never thought was possible. He's been a huge influence in developing me, giving me confidence, maybe I've always had that there but I've never been able to make that step.
"In the last couple of years, he's really pushed me and challenged me. Sometimes, I've had crazy sessions in training where I think to myself, 'I can't do that', but he comes back and says that he's not going to give me easy sessions that he knows I can do, he's always going to give me sessions that are hard. That's been good for me. It's pushed my mentality and ability to suffer. He's been a huge influence on me and I couldn't as for a better coach.
"The environment that we have on our team is great," she said of her teammates. "We've seen this year that it's not just one rider getting results, but we've all been getting results. We're all being challenged and achieving goals, everyone starts to believe in themselves more."
Spratt aims to make improvements next year, starting with her performances at the Ardennes Classics. This year she was a consistent contender but failed to secure a victory. She finished third at Amstel Gold Race, fifth at Flèche Wallonne, and second at Liège-Bastonge-Liège.
"The Ardennes were great. I couldn't have asked for a better Ardennes, maybe a win," Spratt told Cyclingnews, and elaborated further in a team statement.
"My preparation for the Ardennes this year was quite disrupted due to chilblains on my feet and then the flu so I know that my preparation for these races can be a lot better in particular."
She said she also aims to have another strong performance at the Giro Rosa and at the 2019 UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire.