Amanda Spratt has recovered from a head injury suffered in a crash at Strade Bianche in early March and will return to racing on Sunday for the third round of the Women's WorldTour Trofeo Alfredo Binda-Comune di Cittiglio.
"My European racing season didn't start well at Strade Bianche with the crash and hitting my head quite hard, but I think I was very lucky," Spratt said in a team statement. "In the end I needed some easy days, but I don't think I lost a lot. I've been able to have some better training days over the last days so I feel ready and excited for Binda now."
Spratt started her season in January in Australia where she won a stage and the overall title at the Women's Tour Down Under. She was also second, behind teammate Lucy Kennedy, at the Herald Sun Tour.
She had hoped to make a strong mark on the Women’s WorldTour opener at Strade Bianche on March 9, but a crash that included a hit to her head forced her to pull out of the race. Her teammate Annemiek van Vleuten went on to claim a solo victory.
After a stop in the Netherlands at Ronde van Drenthe, the Women's WorldTour returns to Italy for the Trofeo Alfredo Binda. Spratt was fourth last year and in 2013, but hopes to race to a spot on the podium this time around.
The 131.1km route from Taino to Cittiglio is hilly, and it ends with four finishing loops, each of which include a 3.1km climb to Orino before descending back into Cittiglio, and over one small rise to the finish line. Spratt and the Mitchelton-Scott team are familiar with the area because the Australian Institute of Sport is located in nearby Gavirate.
"I'm definitely eager to be racing again and especially at Trofeo Binda, it's like a home race for us and includes roads that I could ride on with my eyes shut I know them so well. I’ve had a couple of top five results here in the past so it’s a race that I definitely like,” Spratt said.
"I expect it to be a hard and aggressive race this year and I think the team showed especially in Drenthe that they are racing really well together and at the front so I think we can be confident to go to Binda and aim for the win with the team we have."
Spratt will have support from teammates Jess Allen, Grace Brown, Gracie Elvin, Lucy Kennedy and Sarah Roy. Mitchelton-Scott’s new director, Alejandro Gonzalez, predicts the race will come down to a small group sprint, and that his team is capable of winning.
"We have a strong team, with Spratty returning after her crash at Strade and we will try to play our cards in the best way to take the win in what is kind of a 'home' race for us," Gonzalez said.
"Hopefully, the weather will be good and we can enjoy a sunny and warm day, which will be a nice change for the girls coming from last weekend’s races in the Netherlands."