Elite/Under-23 women's road race: Buninyong - Buninyong
Amanda Spratt took the elite women's road race title at the 2020 Australian Road Championships in Buninyong, Australia, on Sunday, out-sprinting breakaway companion Justine Barrow (Roxsolt Attaquer), with Spratt's Mitchelton-Scott teammate Grace Brown taking third place, a further 10 seconds back.
The trio had escaped on the third lap of the nine-lap, 104.4km race, and wouldn't be seen again by the peloton, which finished almost six minutes down. Within it, in eighth place, was Jaime Gunning (Specialized Women's Racing), who took the under-23 women's title in the combined race.
"This is really special; I owe my team this one," Spratt told SBS after taking what was her third elite title, having also won the road race in 2012 and 2016.
"Grace did so much work. It's unusual to have come here as the sole leader of the team, so I was under a lot of pressure, but I'm so proud of my team to have been able to help me pull it off, and so, so happy," she said.
"I don't know if anyone 'allowed' us to get away so early, but we didn't think anyone would expect such an early break. We had a really good group, with an incredible ride by Justine, who helped keep it going.
"I felt confident for if it came down to a sprint," continued Spratt, who caught Barrow slightly unawares with around 300 metres to go to take the win. "But I was very impressed by Justine. She's an incredible rider, and was matching me on the climbs."
How it unfolded
The surprise three-rider move went clear on the third ascent of the Mt. Buninyong climb, quickly building up a decent lead on the peloton, and causing mild panic among the other riders as they realised that the Mitchelton pairing of Spratt and Brown had a very real chance of going the distance.
With 50km to go, the front three – with Barrow working well with Spratt and Brown – had a 2:25 lead, with no organised chase developing behind them.
Going through with three laps of the 11.6km course to go, and with the break's lead up to just under three minutes, FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope's Brodie Chapman attacked from the bunch, but was quickly reeled in by an attentive Rachel Neylan (Casa Dorada Womens Cycling) and Lucy Kennedy (Mitchelton-Scott), with the latter policing the peloton with her two teammates up the road.
With the gap up to 3:30 with two laps to go, there was no doubt that the break was going to stay away. Going onto the climb, Brown lost contact as Spratt attacked to test Barrow's legs, but Barrow was equal to Spratt, and the pair crested the climb together, with Spratt unable to shake the Roxsolt rider.
As the chasing riders continued to tire, Spratt and Barrow held a five-minute advantage over the dwindling bunch going into the final lap, with Brown left in no-man's land, but not too far behind. The 2019 national time trial champion almost made contact again at the start of the final climb, and kept pushing as the two better climbers moved away from her again.
As expected, the game of cat-and-mouse began between Spratt and Barrow with two kilometres to go during the fast run-in to the finish, with the more-experienced Spratt letting Barrow take the lead.
With Brown closing in again, and Barrow constantly checking over her shoulder, Spratt used that experience to wait until the moment Barrow momentarily looked forward again to launch her sprint, and had time to celebrate her victory from Barrow as she crossed the line, with Brown rolling in to take the final elite women's podium place.
Last year's elite race winner, Sarah Gigante (Tibco-SVB) – who won the 2020 elite time trial title on Wednesday – took the silver medal in the U23 event behind Gunning at this year's race with her 18th place, while Brunswick Cycling Club's Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Aus) took bronze.
"It's pretty special, as this year is my last in the under 23s, and I haven't won an under-23 category yet," said new champion Gunning, "so to come away with this win is really special, and to do it with such an awesome team makes it even better.
"Three laps in, when the two Mitchelton-Scott riders [Spratt and Brown] went off the front, we really weren't anticipating that to happen, and then, once we realised that the gap was really going out quite far, we turned all our focus onto the under-23s, and I was super stoked to have my team there at the finish with me," she said.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||2:57:59|
|2||Justine Barrow (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer||0:00:01|
|3||Grace Brown (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||0:00:11|
|4||Emily Herfoss (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer||0:05:41|
|5||Chloe Hosking (Aus) Rally UHC Cycling Women||0:05:51|
|6||Shara Gillow (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|7||Peta Mullens (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer|
|8||Jaime Gunning (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing|
|9||Brodie Chapman (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|10||Matilda Raynolds (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing|
|11||Jessica Pratt (Aus) Canyon-SRAM|
|12||Kirsty Deacon (Aus) Veris Racing Women's Team|
|13||Nicole Frain (Aus) Sydney Uni-Staminade|
|14||Madeline Wright (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer|
|15||Taryn Heather (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing|
|16||Rachel Neylan (Aus) Casa Dorada Womens Cycling|
|17||Lucy Kennedy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|18||Sarah Gigante (Aus) Team Tibco-SVB|
|19||Bree Wilson (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer||0:06:24|
|20||Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Aus) Brunswick Cycling Club|
|21||Laura Luxford (Aus) St Kilda Cycling Club|
|22||Julia Atkins (Aus) St Kilda Cycling Club|
|23||Amber Pate (Aus) Norwood Cycling Club|
|24||Rebecca McConnell (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club|
|25||Holly Harris (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing|
|26||Elle Leahy (Aus) Gold Coast Cycling Club||0:11:11|
|27||Emily Watts (Aus) Subaru Giant Women||0:12:11|
|28||Elizabeth Stannard (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing|
|DNF||Jessica Allen (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|DNF||Gracie Elvin (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|DNF||Lauren Kitchen (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|DNF||Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-SRAM|
|DNF||Nicola MacDonald (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer|
|DNF||Emma Chilton (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer|
|DNF||Kate Perry (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing|
|DNF||Ashlee Jones (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing|
|DNF||Ella Bloor (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing|
|DNF||Georgia Miansarow (Aus) Sydney Uni-Staminade|
|DNF||Gina Ricardo (Aus) Sydney Uni-Staminade|
|DNF||Georgie Whitehouse (Aus) Sydney Uni-Staminade|
|DNF||Anya Louw (Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast|
|DNF||Alexandra Martin-Wallace(Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast|
|DNF||Sophie Edwards (Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast|
|DNF||Breanna Hargrave (Aus) Subaru Giant Women|
|DNF||Ella Falzarano (Aus) Subaru Giant Women|
|DNF||Jordyn Hassett (Aus) Subaru Giant Women|
|DNF||Gemma Mollenhauer (Aus) Subaru Giant Women|
|DNF||Lucia Azzopardi (Aus) Subaru Giant Women|
|DNF||Pia Smith (Aus) Gusto Step FWD KOM powered by Sukuzi|
|DNF||Bre Vine (Aus) Gusto Step FWD KOM powered by Sukuzi|
|DNF||Grace Brunton-Makeham (Aus) Veris Racing Women's Team|
|DNF||Kathryn WOOLSTON (Aus) Veris Racing Women's Team|
|DNF||Nicole MMitsigeorgis (Aus) Veris Racing Women's Team|
|DNF||Chloe Heffernan (Aus) Veris Racing Women's Team|
|DNF||Josie Talbot (Aus) Casa Dorada Womens Cycling|
|DNF||Rebecca Wiasak (Aus) Team CCS Canbera Women's|
|DNF||Katie Banerjee (Aus) Harlequin Cycling Club|
|DNF||Darcie Richards (Aus) X-Speed Australia Cycling Club|
|DNF||Jade Haines (Aus) Midland Cycle Club|
|DNF||Jennifer Kay (Aus) Rapha Cycling Club|
|DNF||Chloe Moran (Aus) Central Districts Cycling Club|
|DNF||Emily Fowler (Aus) University of Queensland CC|
|DNF||Marie-Louise Fitzgerald (Aus) Collective Cycling Club|
|DNF||Emma Viotto (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club|
|DNF||Maddison Taylor (Aus) University of Queensland CC|
|DNF||Kate Bonner (Aus) South Perth Cycling Club|
|DNF||Sharni Morley (Aus) Brunswick Cycling Club|
|DNF||Elizabeth Nuspan (Aus) Brunswick Cycling Club|
|DNF||Chelsea Holmes (Aus) South Coast Cycling Club|
|DNF||Samantha Boyce (Aus) Rapha Cycling Club|
|DNF||Emma Green (Aus) Gold Coast Cycling Club|
|DNF||Amy Cundy (Aus) Gold Coast Cycling Club|
|DNF||Victoria Barry (Aus) Norwood Cycling Club|
|DNF||Fiona Morris (Aus) Alpine Cycling Club|
|DNF||Pip Ash (Aus) Tamworth Cycle Club|
|DNF||Alana Forster (Aus) Vikings Cycling Club|
|DNF||Saffron Button (Aus) Blackburn Cycling Club|
|DNF||Danielle De Francesco (Aus) Gold Coast Cycling Club|
|DSQ||Lauren Thomas (Aus) Team CCS Canbera Women's|
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