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Spratt wins stage, takes cycling tour lead

Australian cycling star Amanda Spratt has continued his strong start to the year, winning stage two of the Santos Women's Tour.

Spratt wins stage, takes cycling tour lead

Australian cycling star Amanda Spratt has continued his strong start to the year, winning stage two of the Santos Women's Tour.

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

The brutal Mengler's Hill climb was Amanda Spratt's playground as the Australian cycling star took control of the Santos Women's Tour.

Barring disaster, Spratt will successfully defend her overall title after she won stage two on Friday and took a commanding 43-second lead over Mitchelton-Scott teammate Lucy Kennedy.


Mengler's Hill is a Barossa cycling landmark, nicknamed Mangler's Hill because of its steep gradient.

It was the finish for stage two and was always going to be decisive in the four-day tour.

As the temperature approached 40 degrees, Mitchelton-Scott predictably used the climb as the launch pad for a Spratt attack.

Their newly crowned Australian time trial champion Grace Brown drove a fierce pace and Kennedy was the first to attack once the peloton turned onto the road, forcing rivals to respond.

Then Spratt blasted clear and no-one could follow the wheel of the world championships silver medallist.

"What can I say? My teammates were so so amazing and whenever they ride so hard for you like that, you want to finish it off," Spratt said.

"We had a plan and when you can ride it to perfection as a team, it just feels amazing."

Australian criterium champion Rebecca Wiasak and New Zealand's Deborah Paine broke clear early in the 116.7km stage from Nuriootpa, but they were never going to stay clear and were caught with 7km left.

Saturday's third stage is also demanding, given the 104.5km route from Nairne to Stirling in the Adelaide Hills and the continuing heatwave.

But Spratt looks unbeatable.

Even though she does not peak in January, she has started the season with a race win in the Bay Crits and second last Sunday in the Australian championships road race.

Provided Mitchelton-Scott negotiate Saturday, then the Adelaide street race on Sunday will be a procession for their leader.

AAP


AAP




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