Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton Scott) pounced on stage three of the 2018 Santos Women’s Tour to ride into the ochre jersey with victory on the uphill finish in Hahndorf. Spratt is now in prime position to defend her title with a 29-second gap on Lauren Stephens (Cylance Pro Cycling) and 1:30 minutes to Katrin Garfoot (UniSA Australia) with the final criterium stage remaining.
“I think we had to come in confident. We knew that we had second, third and fourth on GC and Kat [Garfoot] was the only UniSA rider up there,” Spratt said. “You can never underestimate her, she is in really peak condition we know that from the nationals, so we really just wanted to try and isolate her.”
The stage was one many thought may have ended in a sprint finish but Spratt who had gone on a reconnaissance mission last year knew of the opportunities to use the stage to move into the lead.
“It is a race I have targeted for a while. I came down last December and reconned the stages, so I was really confident with this stage that I knew the roads. Once I got away I was confident I could stay away.”
Strong winds and threatening skies greeted the peloton at the newly constructed Bend Motorsport Park in Tailem Bend for the 122.4-kilometre stage. Crosswinds and constantly changing weather wreaked havoc on the field throughout the opening hour and a half.
Linda Villumsen (Team Virtu Cycling) attacked the bunch 40 kilometres into the stage quickly distancing the field. Once in time trial mode the former world champion against the clock quickly took 5:15 minutes, giving the New Zealander the virtual lead by over four minutes.
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