Amanda Spratt: Australia’s strongest World Championship team in years

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Australia are heading to their UCI Road World Championships on home soil with the strongest women’s team in years according to Amanda Spratt, who finished on the podium twice at the event, who underlined the depth of her list and its ability to adapt to varied racing scenarios.

The New South Wales local will line up in the 164km elite/U23 women’s road race on Saturday September 23 to tackle a course that sweeps the coast from Helensburgh, through the Mount Keira Circuit once, then six laps of a corner-heavy city circuit that includes a climb of Mount Pleasant. The experienced Worlds campaigner will race as part of a team that includes Georgia Baker, Brodie Chapman, Sarah Roy, Josie Talbot, Alex Manly and Grace Brown.

“When I look at our team, I think overall it’s probably one of the strongest we’ve had in a number of years, in terms of the depth we have and riders who can get deeply involved in racing,” Spratt said. Cycling news before heading to Australia at the end of last week for a final training block before the race. “That will be our goal. And then I think we can play very well there on the final circuits.

“I think Grace and Alex will be the riders we really want to protect the most and they deserve that position. They’ve both had a fantastic season and they can both win or get on the podium in the race in different ways, which is exciting.”

Brown has a knack for choosing when to attack and then using his time trial skills to stay up front, while Manly can sprint but also has the ability to hold his own on shorter climbs – a valuable skill on a course with 2433m of elevation gain. Spratt, who isn’t front and center this year as she has often been in recent editions, offers the climbing strength although she would undoubtedly prefer longer climbs.

The 34-year-old was for many years the obvious choice for the leadership of the Australian team, taking second place in the World Championships road race in 2018 and third in 2019. In recent seasons, however, weren’t kind to his iliac artery-affected form. endofibrosis and subsequent surgery in October to fix it. Now Spratt is showing promising signs that she is bouncing back to the top of her game ahead of those rare world road championships in front of a house.

“It’s been quite a long road to recovery,” Spratt said, adding that the turning point really came for her halfway through the year.

“Eight months after the operation, it was just before the Giro [d’Italia Donne], at the end of my altitude block and I did my best power ever in ten minutes just before the Giro. That’s when I knew and was able to say: ‘OK, everything is fine’.

“At that time, it was worth it.”

Spratt went to the ten-stage race in Italy in “fantastic form” and intent on making the most of it over two crucial stages.

“My biggest strength for a stage is that it’s up and down, up and down, with long climbs and no recovery, so that’s really what we had in stages 8 and 9 of the Giro,” Spratt said. . “But I got COVID on Stage 7 and was out.”

Another chance loomed then at the Women’s Tour de France, but a crash on stage two ended that opportunity before the climbing stages also arrived.

“It was a tough July and just when I thought my form was getting really good again,” Spratt said.

Spratt may not have had many opportunities to benefit from his post-surgery reconstruction, but in his last race, the Simac Ladies Tour, the progress was clear with a third in the time trial of Stage 5. The rider, too, is embracing the positives of her July of COVID and crashing as she eyes her second World Road Championships on home soil, having raced as an elite of first year in Geelong in 2010.

“Sometimes you get to this point in the season and it’s a little hard not to push too far,” Spratt said. “I approach the end of the season a little fresher, which is nice. I think my form will go up and I really want to be able to use it for the team.”

The Australian team and BikeExchange-Jayco have been a constant for Spratt since the start of his career, but – while the national team is expected to remain so – his commercial team is expected to change next season. The rider has signed with Trek-Segafredo but hopes to make the most of her final block of races with her long-term team before embarking on a strong first season with her new team.

“I feel like I’m definitely going up now,” Spratt said of his form. “If that doesn’t happen this season, I really think there are so many positive signs for next season, so I’m looking at both the short term and the long term with enthusiasm.”

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