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ORICA-Scott’s Amanda Spratt wins Stage 1 of Santos Women’s Tour

The Australian and her ORICA-Scott teammates controlled the peloton for the entire 106.5-kilometer race while chasing down all breakaway groups during the first half of the race.

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Amanda Spratt from ORICA-Scott won the first stage of the Santos Women’s Tour in Australia Saturday by 19 seconds.

The 106.5-kilometer opening stage of the Santos Women’s Tour left Hahndorf at 11am and wound its way through the rolling Adelaide Hills to Meadows.

The Australian and her ORICA-Scott teammates controlled the peloton for the entire 106.5-kilometer race while chasing down all breakaway groups during the first half of the race. Spratt said the ORICA-Scott plan was to control the peloton and stop any breakaways from opposition riders.

“That was the plan, that we didn’t have to do a lot of work when it wasn’t necessary so we did a good job at that,” she said. “We did feel the pressure a little bit. We have had a dream start to the season, our best ever. So we knew the eyes would be on us. If there was a break that needed to come back, it would be us that would do it.”

The peloton was bunched for the first 80 kilometers before stretching out heading into Strathalbyn and the steep 11 per cent gradient climb in the final four kilometers.

“It was our plan to move at the 18-kilometer mark, so we were attacking like crazy. Our pressure was unrelenting,” Spratt said.

Spratt made her breakaway into the climb and won the Subaru Queen of the Mountain in a grueling sprint up Paris Creek Road ahead of the finish in Meadows.

“It was the most painful last five kilometers I’ve ever done,” she said. “In the team meeting last night we said the No. 1 goal was to win the stage, and to win with enough time to have a good buffer for the overall.”

Janneke Ensing from Ale Cipollini came second, with Katherine Hall from United Healthcare Pro Cycling Team in third.