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Spratt upstages sprinters in Bay Crits win

Australian cycling star Amanda Spratt has started this year with much the same commanding form she showed in 2018.

Spratt upstages sprinters in Bay Crits win

Australian cycling star Amanda Spratt has started this year with much the same commanding form she showed in 2018.

AMANDA SPRATT of Australia in action during the Elite Women's Road Race in Florence, Italy.
AMANDA SPRATT of Australia in action during the Elite Women's Road Race in Florence, Italy. Picture:Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Australian cycling star Amanda Spratt has started this year in much the same style as 2018, upstaging the sprinters for a win at the Bay Crits.

Spratt made a solo charge on Geelong's Ritchie Boulevard hotdog circuit, where races usually come down to bunch finishes, and made it stick for an upset win.


She finished 36 seconds clear of reigning national criterium champion Rebecca Wiasak as the Lexus Blackburn Bay Crits returned on Tuesday after a year off.

Spratt is starting the year with her usual schedule - the Bay Crits, the national championships and the Santos Women's Tour.

She does not peak for January - her big goals are later in the year - but the domestic racing is an important base for the year ahead.

Nominally, Spratt would be co-team leader for the Lexus Blackburn All-Stars at the Bay Crits along with compatriot Chloe Hosking.

But the three-race series is definitely one for the sprinters such as Hosking, who finished sixth in Tuesday's twilight race..

In her 12 years at the Bay Crits, this is just the third win for Spratt.

"Definitely it will be suiting Chloe a little bit more," she said with a laugh before race one.

"But I'm actually excited by that team.

"We (her and Hosking) don't get to race together often and it will be nice to join forces.

"It's a fun way to start the year, with less pressure and some exciting racing." .

Last year, only the world's best cyclists were able to beat Spratt when she targetted a big race.

With the Tokyo Olympics rapidly approaching, the 31-year-old is coming off the best year of her career.

Spratt won the silver medal in the road race at the world championships, capping a string of massive results through 2018 that confirmed she is now in the sport's top echelon.

She also won a stage in the women's Giro d'Italia, had two podium finishes in the Ardennes classics and successfully defended her Santos Women's Tour overall title in Adelaide.

"(Last year) 2018 was just a huge step up - even the year before, I stood there and said I wanted to target Ardennes and this and that, but I didn't really prove myself at all," she said.

"In 2018, I was really determined and set really clear goals around those Ardennes races, the Giro and the world championships.

"I was just focused during the season - it's not just one thing that worked, it's an accumulation."'

The focus now is turning a few of those big podium finishes into wins.

Only Dutch star Anna van der Breggen could best Spratt at the worlds.

"I didn't get some wins that I really wanted, (but) second place to Anna van der Breggen is not a bad result at all," Spratt said.

"It definitely leaves me hungry for this season."

AAP


AAP




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