Defending champion Valentina Scandolara headlines Santos Women’s Tour

Elevated to UCI status this year, the second edition of the Santos Women’s Tour gets underway on Saturday. The four-day stage race will feature an impressive 97-rider field that includes local teams alongside the likes of ORICA-AIS, Cylance, Hitec Products and Wiggle Honda, the number one ranked women’s team in the world. Track world champion (team pursuit, points race) Nettie Edmondson, defending champion Valentina Scandolara, and newly-crowned Australian champions Amanda Spratt (ORICA-AIS), Kat Garfoot (ORICA-AIS) and Sophie McKay (Specialized Women) are among the starters.

“There are a lot of strong riders out there,” noted Scandolara, who won the opening stage of the inaugural event and maintained her lead from start to finish. “There’s ORICA, Wiggle, Villumsen (New Zealand National Team), Kitchen (Hitec Products) and Cromwell (on loan from CANYON//SRAM to SASI Cycling), but I’m confident my team will play a big role in the race.”

“We are all super excited and apart from two of my teammates falling a bit sick these last days, I think we’re ready,” Scandolara added. “We didn’t talk specific race tactics yet, but there’s a great vibe in the team, and our director Manel Lacambra knows our strengths well. I know he will get the best out of us.”

The women’s peloton will tackle the Mount Torrens circuit on the stage one. The loop in the Adelaide Hills was used in the 2006 Australian National Road Championships and produced a dynamic race over an undulating course.

The second stage of the Santos Women’s Tour borrows from the men’s event. The women cover 20 kilometres over the People’s Choice Classic circuit.

It’s back to wine country on Monday as stage three travels through the Barossa Valley Way. The stage race comes to a close on Tuesday with an hour-long race on the iconic Victoria Park circuit.

“The first and third stage of the race will be the general classification stages,” said Scandolara. “The wind and the hills will be the main factor.”

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