Valentina Scandolara proved best of the rest, crossing the line in second place ahead of Jo Hogan (Boss Racing). Overnight race leader Loes Gunnewijk managed second in the bunch kick, seventh place on the stage, to hold onto the series lead.
“I’m pretty excited,” said Spratt. “It was a great day for the team. We played things perfectly in the end with the numbers we had. We can all walk away knowing we put everything out there for the team today.”
“All in all, it was a fantastic effort,” said Sport Director Gene Bates, echoing Spratt’s sentiments. “Spratty rode solo to the finish. Valentina was able to sprint in for second from what was left in the group behind. Loes picked up second in the bunch sprint to marginally extend her lead. We’re in a really good situation going into the last stage.”
The only road race in the three day Santos Women’s Cup series, the second day of racing was projected to be the most action-packed. The aggression started from the gun, and while the early attacks were neutralised, eventually Ruth Corset (independent) slipped the peloton’s stronghold.
“It was a strange move,” noted Bates. “Being one of the strongest climbers, we though Ruth would wait for Menglers. Nonetheless, she went off the front, and we sent Valentina with her. It was Valentina’s job to cover Ruth today.”
“The little move was great for us,” Bates added. “Having the leader’s jersey, we didn’t have to do any work in the break. Ruth slowly wore herself down while we rode tempo at the back, keeping our focus on our plans for the second half of the race.”
Attacks from the peloton quickly cut into the leaders’ advantage. With 25 kilometres remaining, Corset and Sandolara rejoined the bunch.
“When those two were caught, we went on the offensive straightaway,” explained Bates. “We put Spratty in a group of three riders. Behind her, we had Vale, Jessie [MacLean] and another girl attempting to bridge across. The rest of our riders were in the bunch behind the second three rider group. Effectively, there were three small groups on the road as we headed toward Menglers.”
“I attacked when I sensed a lull in the bunch,” Spratt added. “I got away with Taryn Heather (SASI) and Rebecca Heath (Bicycle Superstore). The three of worked well together. We had a 30” gap over the peloton by the time we hit the climb. Just as we began to climb, a group of three with Jo, Vale and Jessie began to come across to us. I could see them, but they hadn’t closed in us when I attacked. I got away solo, and that’s where I stayed.”
Spratt was the first to crest Menglers Hill. Scandolara and Hogan hit the summit together. Heather and MacLean followed, ahead of a devastated peloton.
“Jo Hogan put in a big effort to try to catch me,” said Spratt. “Valentina was on her wheel the entire time. I could see that Jo was really strong today, and for awhile the gap was holding steady but had stopped growing”
“I was never really certain that I would stay away,” Spratt added. “There weren’t any markers on the road, so I only had my SRM to use to measure distance. I was hoping it was as accurate as possible. Inside the final half kilometre, that’s maybe when I realized that I could do it.”