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Valentina Scandolara wins Santos Women’s Tour

Orica-AIS dominates home race in first-ever running of the four-day Santos Women's Tour in Australia

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Valentina Scandolara successfully defended the leader’s jersey she claimed on day one to claim the Santos Women’s Tour overall.

Orica-AIS ran the show Down Under, with Scandolara’s teammate and stage 2 winner Melissa Hoskins winning her second stage on Tuesday, an evening’s criterium that closed out the four-day race.

Scandolara’s victory marked the Italian’s first professional stage race win. In 2014, the 24-year-old won the Giro del Trentino.

“It’s been wonderful these past few days, and today all these people saw how great Orica-AIS is. It was amazing,” Scandolara said.

“Once again we kept the jersey and we got the win so I am really, really happy.”

With overall victory the main priority, Scandolara led from the front on Tuesday, working with her Orica-AIS teammates to control the race and shut down any moves.

“We couldn’t break up the bunch, but that was still alright because we have a great sprinter in Mel [Hoskins] and we played that card, controlling the race for the jersey and doing a great lead-out during the last lap for Melissa.

“There was many attacks, but I was really confident because my teammates and I were always there.”

Indeed, the Orica team’s strength was formidable. Its riders won three of four stages — only Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda) could break the stranglehold with a win in Monday’s stage 3.

“We won three out of four stages, and I am pretty happy to walk away with the last one,” Hoskins said. “It’s been awesome to be back with the girls, I haven’t ridden with them since last year and they backed me in 100 percent today.”

Orica also claimed second place in the general classification with Hoskins only six seconds behind Scandolara. Loren Rowney (Velocio-SRAM) was third.

Annette Edmonson (Wiggle-Honda) won the sprint classification, and Rowney also claimed the mountain classification.