Amanda Spratt wins elite women's road race title at Australian Road Championships

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.

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Full results
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 2:57:59
2Justine Barrow (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer 0:00:01
3Grace Brown (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:11
4Emily Herfoss (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer 0:05:41
5Chloe Hosking (Aus) Rally UHC Cycling Women 0:05:51
6Shara Gillow (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
7Peta Mullens (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer
8Jaime Gunning (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing
9Brodie Chapman (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
10Matilda Raynolds (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing
11Jessica Pratt (Aus) Canyon-SRAM
12Kirsty Deacon (Aus) Veris Racing Women's Team
13Nicole Frain (Aus) Sydney Uni-Staminade
14Madeline Wright (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer
15Taryn Heather (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing
16Rachel Neylan (Aus) Casa Dorada Womens Cycling
17Lucy Kennedy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
18Sarah Gigante (Aus) Team Tibco-SVB
19Bree Wilson (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer 0:06:24
20Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Aus) Brunswick Cycling Club
21Laura Luxford (Aus) St Kilda Cycling Club
22Julia Atkins (Aus) St Kilda Cycling Club
23Amber Pate (Aus) Norwood Cycling Club
24Rebecca McConnell (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club
25Holly Harris (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing
26Elle Leahy (Aus) Gold Coast Cycling Club 0:11:11
27Emily Watts (Aus) Subaru Giant Women 0:12:11
28Elizabeth Stannard (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing
DNFJessica Allen (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
DNFGracie Elvin (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
DNFLauren Kitchen (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
DNFTiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-SRAM
DNFNicola MacDonald (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer
DNFEmma Chilton (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer
DNFKate Perry (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing
DNFAshlee Jones (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing
DNFElla Bloor (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing
DNFGeorgia Miansarow (Aus) Sydney Uni-Staminade
DNFGina Ricardo (Aus) Sydney Uni-Staminade
DNFGeorgie Whitehouse (Aus) Sydney Uni-Staminade
DNFAnya Louw (Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
DNFAlexandra Martin-Wallace(Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
DNFSophie Edwards (Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
DNFBreanna Hargrave (Aus) Subaru Giant Women
DNFElla Falzarano (Aus) Subaru Giant Women
DNFJordyn Hassett (Aus) Subaru Giant Women
DNFGemma Mollenhauer (Aus) Subaru Giant Women
DNFLucia Azzopardi (Aus) Subaru Giant Women
DNFPia Smith (Aus) Gusto Step FWD KOM powered by Sukuzi
DNFBre Vine (Aus) Gusto Step FWD KOM powered by Sukuzi
DNFGrace Brunton-Makeham (Aus) Veris Racing Women's Team
DNFKathryn WOOLSTON (Aus) Veris Racing Women's Team
DNFNicole MMitsigeorgis (Aus) Veris Racing Women's Team
DNFChloe Heffernan (Aus) Veris Racing Women's Team
DNFJosie Talbot (Aus) Casa Dorada Womens Cycling
DNFRebecca Wiasak (Aus) Team CCS Canbera Women's
DNFKatie Banerjee (Aus) Harlequin Cycling Club
DNFDarcie Richards (Aus) X-Speed Australia Cycling Club
DNFJade Haines (Aus) Midland Cycle Club
DNFJennifer Kay (Aus) Rapha Cycling Club
DNFChloe Moran (Aus) Central Districts Cycling Club
DNFEmily Fowler (Aus) University of Queensland CC
DNFMarie-Louise Fitzgerald (Aus) Collective Cycling Club
DNFEmma Viotto (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club
DNFMaddison Taylor (Aus) University of Queensland CC
DNFKate Bonner (Aus) South Perth Cycling Club
DNFSharni Morley (Aus) Brunswick Cycling Club
DNFElizabeth Nuspan (Aus) Brunswick Cycling Club
DNFChelsea Holmes (Aus) South Coast Cycling Club
DNFSamantha Boyce (Aus) Rapha Cycling Club
DNFEmma Green (Aus) Gold Coast Cycling Club
DNFAmy Cundy (Aus) Gold Coast Cycling Club
DNFVictoria Barry (Aus) Norwood Cycling Club
DNFFiona Morris (Aus) Alpine Cycling Club
DNFPip Ash (Aus) Tamworth Cycle Club
DNFAlana Forster (Aus) Vikings Cycling Club
DNFSaffron Button (Aus) Blackburn Cycling Club
DNFDanielle De Francesco (Aus) Gold Coast Cycling Club
DSQLauren Thomas (Aus) Team CCS Canbera Women's

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