Spratt avoids disaster to record impressive start to year

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Despite a shocking high-speed crash during the final stage, Penrith cyclist Amanda Spratt held on to claim her second straight Women’s Tour Down Under title in Adelaide last weekend.

Cycling for Australian pro team Mitchelton-Scott, the 30-year-old started the 46km Stage 4 with a 29-second lead from Lauren Stephens and 90-second lead on Katrin Garfoot to go back to back.

The Penrith Cycling Club member set up her overall victory by winning the third stage last Saturday, but suffered a major scare on lap eight of the final race when she was involved in a high-speed crash that brought down roughly 20 riders.

Fortunately, the Rio Olympian wasn’t seriously hurt and Spratt’s teammates were able to return her to the peloton, where she crossed the finish line behind stage winner Chloe Hosking.

“I actually had time to stop, but the people behind me didn’t see it and someone zoomed into the back of me,” Spratt said after the race.

“I was very shaken up but my team was awesome. Jess Allen stopped, Annemiek (Van Vleuten) stopped… just calming me down.

“I’m so thankful to them.”

Amanda Spratt (file photo)

This year’s Women’s Tour Down Under was upgraded by the Union Cycliste Internationale to a 2.1 classification, which is now just two steps below WorldTour level.

Spratt said she was over the moon that her season kicked off in winning style on home soil.

“I’m really happy… it’s such a special race, I’m really proud of this race,” she said.

“I think I’ve been in Adelaide for every (women’s) edition at the Tour Down Under – even when it was a bunch of criteriums – so I feel like I’ve grown with the race as well.

“Just to see it grow like this, it’s special, and it’s a really important race for Mitchelton-Scott.”

Born in Penrith, Spratt is a two-time national champion from 2012 and 2016, and has represented her country at the last two Olympic Games.

However, Spratt has already ruled herself out of April’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, preferring to focus on major cycling events in Europe instead.

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