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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, December 19, 2019

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

History is a set of lies agreed upon. - Napoleon Bonaparte

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Amanda Spratt daring to dream of a fourth consecutive Santos Women’s Tour Down Under victory

Spratt's Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this:

Three-time winner of the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under, Amanda Spratt, will return to Adelaide in January with high ambitions of etching her name deeper into the history books, as she dreams of a fourth consecutive victory at the event.

amanda Spratt

Amanda Spratt winning stage two of the 2019 Tour Down Under.

Over the past three years, Spratt has displayed unwavering dominance at the Australian race, picking up stage victories in each edition on her way to securing the overall title.

With a tough but unpredictable parcours for 2020, the two-time world championship medallist is ready for the challenge of continuing her unbeaten run.

If Spratt were to complete a four-peat in 2020, she would be the first ever rider, male or female, to take four successive victories at the Tour Down Under.

The 32-year-old would equal the record of four total victories, an achievement currently only held by Simon Gerrans, and enhance Mitchelton-SCOTT women’s unbeaten record at their home race, having claimed victory every year since the event’s inception as a UCI race in 2016 (2016 - Katrin Garfoot, 2017/2018/2019 - Spratt).

“I’ve won three times before and I know in January my form is good and it is a period of the year where I always want to be in good form, so there’s no reason why I can’t think that I can win again next year and make it a four-peat,” Spratt explained.

“I enjoy the pressure of returning as a defending champion and that pressure is something I have become quite used to over the past two or three years.”

“For me it is just exciting to be going there to a home race, and especially Tour Down Under, it is just getting bigger and bigger every year. There’s always so much support, there’s so many people cheering for you and next year my parents are coming so it will be good to have some home town support. It is a pretty special feeling, you almost feel famous for that week of the TDU rather than feeling a lot of pressure.”

Unpredictable Course:
During the past three editions, Spratt secured the overall titles by launching her signature move - attacking on the most testing of climbs. In 2019, the Australian waited until the summit finish on stage two, up Mengler Hill, and put 39 valuable seconds into her rivals. However for 2020, the absence of a distinctive and decisive climb lends itself to a more open and energetic race.

“The course next year isn’t as predictable as the last years,” Spratt acknowledged. “Last year with the Mengler Hill finish, you knew that was probably going to be the decisive day for the GC.”

“It is a bit more of a dynamic course for 2020, it will still be tough and I’m sure there will be a few surprises. It will be very interesting without one main climb where you can put time into people. We will have a strong team again so I think we can go in to the race thinking we can win.”

Starting with a hat-trick of wins already to her name, Spratt knows she will have a target on her back as the red hot favourite but the Australian remains confident that the team has what it takes to come away with the victory and continue their unbeaten run. The focus is on winning in any scenario.

“If I can win four times it would be amazing,” Spratt continued. “All eyes are going to be on me but maybe there is a scenario where a teammate can get up the road and that can be good for us as well. The priority is that the team walks away again with the Ochre jersey.”

Amanda Spratt’s Results at Santos Women’s Tour Down Under:
2019:
- 1st General Classification
- 1st Stage 2

2018:
- 1st General Classification
- 1st Stage 3
- 1st Mountain Classification

2017:
- 1st General Classification
- 1st Stage 1

INEOS announce Mercedes-AMG Petronas partnership

The team sent me this news release:

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport and INEOS, in collaboration with Team INEOS cycling and INEOS TEAM UK sailing, today announced a new partnership to help drive performance levels even higher on the track, road and sea.

The collaboration is founded on three core principles – a shared belief that no limits should be placed on what is possible in human performance; a desire for the technical excellence and winning cultures of each team to be shared so all three partners benefit; and a belief that the best technical support enables great athletes to create the greatest racing moments.

The partnership will see the teams work together to develop and implement innovations in areas such as engineering, human science, simulation and data analysis.

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport are the current Formula 1 world champions; Team INEOS are the seven-time winners of the Tour de France; and INEOS TEAM UK are looking to win sport’s oldest international sporting trophy, the America’s Cup.

All three teams will work together through Mercedes-Benz Applied Science (MBAS), which was established to blend the pioneering spirit of racing with the best insights from science and technology.

The division leverages the human and technological capability that has underpinned an unprecedented series of six double world championships under the leadership of Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport.

Toto Wolff explains: “The technological demands of Formula 1 mean we are well-placed to support with advanced technical challenges in specific areas of sailing and cycling, with a particular focus on aerodynamics and the manufacturing capability around key components.

“When Sir Jim Ratcliffe approached us with the concept of bringing together the three organisations, all with proven track records of excellence and high ambitions for the future, we immediately saw the opportunity to grow and diversify our business – and to learn from some of the most successful teams in world sport. We are very excited about this agreement’s potential in the months and years ahead.”

Team INEOS Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “At the very heart of these three great teams lies a shared passion for racing, for winning and creating great sporting moments.

“Our unrelenting determination to drive, sail and pedal faster and outwit the ever-improving competition will benefit hugely from this partnership. We can cross-pollinate our collective knowledge in science, technology, human performance and racing strategy to create even stronger winning environments.

“It is massively exciting to be working with such brilliant and successful people in other sports – led by Mercedes the best team in F1 – and we can’t wait to get started and be greater together.”

Sir Ben Ainslie, Team Principal and Skipper of INEOS TEAM UK commented: “There’s an incredible amount of synergy across of all the sports – Formula 1, cycling and the America’s Cup. It’s a fascinating mixture of pushing the boundaries of technical innovation alongside sporting prowess. Mercedes have been phenomenally successful in Formula 1 and there is undoubtedly much we can learn from their organisation. Being able to access their technical resource and experience will be a huge boost for our team. We look forward to a strong collaboration as we work together to get the Cup back to British waters.”

Caleb Ewan, Jasper De Buyst and Roger Kluge re-sign with Lotto Soudal

The team sent me this update:

On Lotto Soudal’s training camp in Mallorca, Caleb Ewan and two of his teammates, Jasper De Buyst and Roger Kluge, extended their contracts with the Belgian World Tour team until the end of 2022. The three riders still had an agreement with the team until end 2020.

Caleb Ewan

Caleb Ewan winning stage sixteen of the 2019 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

“I already knew after probably the first few months in the team that it was a great fit for me and something that I wanted to continue on for in the future. That was before I even started doing well with the team”, says Caleb Ewan. “The first few months of this year were going so well. The team had so much faith in me and I just knew that if we worked together well that the wins would start coming. I just felt so comfortable in the team that straight away from the first few months I knew that, if the opportunity came and the team wanted to keep me, that I’d be happy to extend for a longer period and that we could really work together and work towards the future.”

Australian Caleb Ewan (25) won 10 races last season, including two and three stages in Tour of Italy and Tour de France respectively.

“I am happy to see that Caleb loves his current environment,” adds General Manager John Lelangue. “Caleb likes the team and the vision of Lotto Soudal. These signings are good for the stability and continuity of the team. With Caleb we have one of the fastest guys of the peloton, maybe the fastest one. He is still young as well. With Roger and Jasper he will have, the coming three years, the two key riders of his sprinter’s train with him. Those three riders did Giro and Tour together. They will do the same in 2020.”

Belgian rider Jasper De Buyst (26) and reigning madison world champion Roger Kluge (33), from Germany, extended their contracts with the team as well, with two more years.

“I brought Roger with me obviously and I’ve gelled with Jasper really well in the team already. All of my big wins this year came with those two helping me. So, it’s super important for me to have them for future successes as well”, concluded Caleb Ewan.

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