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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, January 14, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Men in general are quick to believe that which they wish to be true. - Julius Caesar

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Amanda Spratt wins her third Women's Tour Down Under

Spratt's Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this report: 

World championship silver medallist Amanda Spratt has pulled off a hat trick in Adelaide today, winning her third consecutive Santos Women’s Tour Down Under.

Spratt claimed the leader’s jersey with a stage two victory and successfully defended it through the final two days of racing, including today’s final stage criterium won by Chloe Hosking (Ale Cippollini). The victory continues Mitchelton-SCOTT’s unbeaten run at the event, whilst the dominate squad also claimed two stage wins, second overall and the sprint jersey.

Having cemented herself as one of the best climbers in the world in 2018 and as back-to-back champion, Spratt arrived in Adelaide with an air of pressure when racing began on Thursday.

But, testament to her professionalism and ability, the 31-year-old didn’t waver as she took a dominant victory up Mengler Hill on stage two to take the race lead and, with the help of teammates, never looked threatened as she rode to a third straight title.

Spratt’s stranglehold over the Tour Down Under has increased with each success. A 25-second victory in 2017 and 41-second victory in 2018 is capped off by a 49-second victory ahead of teammate Lucy Kennedy at this year’s event.

With the overall competition pretty much wrapped up, it was the blue sprinter's jersey that created most of excitment on the final stage. Mitchelton-SCOTT's Sarah Roy went into the final day with a two-point lead, and an intermediate sprint victory and fourth over the line behind Hosking was enough to wrap up the competition.

In a commanding performance, Mitchelton-SCOTT walk away from the four-day race with bag of accomplishments, including first and second overall, two stage wins (Stage 2 - Spratt, Stage 3 - Grace Brown), the sprint jersey (Sarah Roy) and another two stage podiums. It continues the team’s domination at the UCI race, including their now unbeaten four titles (Spratt – 2019, 2018 and 2017, Katrin Garfoot – 2016), and takes their stage tally to six stage wins across the four editions.

Amanda Spratt

Amanda Spratt winning stage two of this year's Tour Down Under.

Amanda Spratt – 2019, 2018 and 2017 champion:
“I’m so excited and so thankful to my team. It was much smoother sailing than last year, I stayed upright and I'm really happy to be involved in the end to try to help (Sarah) Roy.

"This race is so special. When I sat down with my coach Gene Bates in October he asked me what my goals for the season were and the first thing I said was to win the Tour Down Under. It’s a home race, we’re an Australian team so it’s really special. Mum and dad are here and I’ve got people from the Blue Mountains here as well.

"I think what I’m loving is that it’s not just one rider getting the results, every one in the team is strong in there own right but when we are all coming together for a team goal everyone is really executing and commiting and it’s nice to be a part of.”

Sarah Roy:
"It wasn't a hard race but it was a very tricky final. The girls did an awesome job for the whole race and I think we just ran out of legs when it really got fast in the end.

"We lost each other in the last couple of laps but Spratty was looking after me and in the last half-a-lap Gracie (Elvin) came back too and both of them had a go at leading me out but I lost the wheel in the second last corner, which I’m pretty disappointed about, and I couldn’t make it back. I finished fourth on the line, I don’t know what that means points wise, but we’ll see."

2019 Santos Women’s Tour Down Under – Stage 4 Results:
1. Chloe Hosking (Ale Cippollini) 1:02:38
2. Letizia Paternoster (Trek-Segafredo) ST
3. Rachele Barbieri (BePink) ST
4. Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

2019 Santos Women’s Tour Down Under – FINAL General Classification:
1. Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 10:27:26
2. Lucy Kennedy (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:49
3. Rachel Neylan (UniSA - Australia) +0:53

2019 starts with second for Peter Sagan in Adelaide as crashes shake up Down Under Classic

We have complete results, photos and report from Lotto-Soudal posted here.

Peter Sagan's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this report:

The first race of BORA-hansgrohe’s 2019 season saw high speeds and frenetic riding, as the Down Under Classic showed that the riders really meant business this year. While several breaks tried to control the day, the sprint teams brought them back every time. The pace ramping up, two crashes in the last two laps created splits. While Austrian National Champion, Lukas Pöstlberger, was brought down here, he picked himself up to ride to the finish. But the BORA-hansgrohe team kept their heads and saw Peter Sagan safely to the finish, the Slovak National Champion unlucky to be beaten to the top spot, taking second on the line in a reduced sprint, while on his birthday, Daniel Oss took a well-deserved fifth position.

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan right after the race. Sirotti photo

From the Finish Line:
"I'm happy with my result today. It was a hot and fast day and I'd like to thank all my teammates for their work, especially Daniel Oss, Oscar Gatto and Maciej Bodnar that protected me. They helped me keep clear of the crashes in the finale and that was important today. Overall, I'm satisfied with the start of the Tour Down Under and the season." – Peter Sagan

"The race finished with a good second place for Peter and good work by the entire team with everybody committed. We would have liked to repeat last year's victory but this is in my view a good starting point to the season." – Patxi Vila 

And here's the Down Under Classic report from Elia Viviani's Deceuninck-Quick-Step team:

Viviani held up by crash in Adelaide. The Italian Champion couldn’t contest the sprint of the Tour Down Under Classic due to a late incident.

Rémi Cavagna, Dries Devenyns, Mikkel Honoré, James Knox, Michael Mørkøv, Fabio Sabatini and Elia Viviani were the seven Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders lining out for the hour-long Tour Down Under Classic, the fast and frantic criterium held on the streets of Adelaide ahead of the 21st edition of the Australian World Tour race, which is due to start in two days’ time.

Elia Viviani

Elia Viviani finsihed 121st, at 2min 34sec. Sirotti photo

Despite an average speed of 45km/h on the opening laps, four riders went clear and managed to put half a minute between them and the peloton, before being reeled in with 30 minutes left of the race. Soon after, another quartet went clear, but the chasers – including neo-pro Mikkel Honoré – made sure of not leaving anything to chance and kept them within sight, before eventually making the catch with four laps left.

Well-positioned under the flame rouge arch, just behind teammates Michael Mørkøv and Fabio Sabatini, Elia Viviani was patiently waiting to make his move in the race finale, when a crash occurred just as the bunch came out of the second-to-last corner blocked him and put an end to any hopes of a good result in the criterium won by Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) from a reduced group that survived the chaos.

The sprinters are expected to be again in the spotlight on the opening stage of the Tour Down Under – first World Tour event of the season – a 132.4km trek from North Adelaide to Port Adelaide.

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