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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, January 18, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 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 in lead after stage two victory at the Tour Down Under

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

Newly crowned Australian champion Amanda Spratt has pulled on the familiar ochre jersey at the Santos Tour Down Under after she won the second stage into Birdwood today.

Amanda Spratt

Amanda Spratt takes the stage and the GC lead

Spratt won the sprint from a small group after her Mitchelton-SCOTT teammates once again animated racing, sacrificing themselves for the 32-year-old’s success.

With no major climbs on the route in 2020, it was about making the most of any opportunities and the wind presented one early on the second stage.

Joining forces with several teams, Mitchelton-SCOTT put on the pressure in the opening 30km. Their efforts momentarily caused echelons in the bunch, but the damage wasn’t enough to stick as the peloton came back together ahead of the feed zone.

Not giving up on a hard race, Jessica Allen, Gracie Elvin and Georgia Williams upped the pace on the lead up to the first long climb after 80km of racing before Lucy Kennedy took over on the ascent.

Their collective efforts shattered the bunch and left just five riders at the front; including Kennedy, Spratt, teammate Grace Brown and two rivals. Not stopping there, Kennedy continued her support role, ensuring the group stayed away for the next ten kilometres and onto the final climb of the day.

Using their numbers, Spratt and Brown continued to counter attack and force fellow leaders Ruth Winder (Trek Segafredo) and Liane Lippert (Team Sunweb) to chase their efforts.

Once again sacrificed herself, Brown dropped slightly behind the trio as they began to work together to ensure their advantage for the general classification battle.

In a copy of the Australian championships on Sunday, Brown continued to fight on, and as the front trio began to play cat and mouse, she momentarily re-caught the leaders before they kicked for the sprint.

Despite not being confident of her sprint against the likes of Winder and Lippert, Spratt held her wits and proved to have the strongest legs at the end of the 115km stage.

Spratt now enters tomorrow’s penultimate stage in the race lead, with a narrow four-second advantage to Winder.

Amanda Spratt – Stage winner and overall leader:
“From the start there was crosswinds and we tried with some other teams to split it, but it just wasn’t strong enough.

“From then, we knew we needed to make it really, really hard from kilometre 85 to the finish.

“Jess, Georgia and Gracie did an awesome lead out into the first longer climb and then Lucy just let rip at the bottom. By the top of that we had five of us left with Grace, Lucy and I all there.

“From that point Lucy stayed on the front and drove it for 10km into the final climb so Grace and I could one-two and try to get rid of the others.

“In the end I couldn’t get rid of Liane and Ruth, but I decided at that point the GC was more important so the three of us were actually working almost all of the way to the finish.

“I was pretty nervous coming into the finish. Normally people would not expect me to beat those two riders in a sprint, but I just know that after a really hard race I do actually have a pretty good sprint so I’m pretty excited about to pull that off.”

Martin Vestby – Sport Director:
“It wasn’t a super hard stage but it’s always how you race it. Today we wanted to test it in the crosswinds early on but the wind wasn’t that strong and didn’t make the difference but it did make some people suffer in those first 30km.

“Then, everyone really committed to making it really hard and set it up in those last two climbs.  We really sacrificed some riders to set it up and that worked really well.

“It doesn’t change a lot for tomorrow, other than that we have a couple of seconds advantage and that everyone is going to look at us. It’s going to be a stage where we have to defend and create the race again.”

2020 Tour Down Under – Stage 2 Results:
1. Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 3:04:27
2. Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo) ST
3. Liane Lippert (Team Sunweb) ST

2020 Tour Down Under – General Classification after Stage 2:
1. Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 6:21:19
2. Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo) +0:04
3. Liane Lippert (Team Subweb) +0:05

2020 Tour de Yorkshire route announced

Here's the press release the organizer sent me:

2020 Tour of Yorkshire

Map of the 2020 Tour de Yorkshire

Thursday 30 April – Stage One Men (176.5km):
The Yorkshire Coast Stage – Beverley to Redcar

The men’s race gets going in Beverley and proceeds to Hornsea before following the coastline in a northerly direction. The first intermediate sprint will be contested in Flamborough, and Filey and Robin Hood’s Bay both make welcome returns before the first mountains classification points are up for grabs on the Côte de Hooks House Farm. With those in the bag, a second intermediate sprint will take place at Whitby Abbey, and once the riders have passed through Sandsend they’ll be faced with the second climb of the day – the Côte de Lythe Bank. Any riders that fall off the pace on there will have to work hard to get themselves back into contention before the action reaches a gripping conclusion in Redcar – the most northerly location the Tour has ever visited. 

Friday 1 May – Stage Two Men, Stage One Women (both 124.5km):
The Three Peaks Stage – Skipton to Leyburn

The world’s top female riders join the action in Skipton and start in the morning with the men following in the afternoon. Both routes are identical and feature two intermediate sprints in the opening 35km. The first comes in Settle with the other following in Horton in Ribblesdale. The route then heads past the Three Peaks and Ribblehead Viaduct, and once the riders have exited Hawes, the Côte de Buttertubs will be immediately upon them. This rises to the highest point of the race and is one of two climbs that have not been visited since the 2014 Tour de France. The other is the Côte de Grinton Moor, and that fearsome double-header could see a few stragglers distanced before a fiercely contested finale in Leyburn.

Saturday 2 May – Stage Three Men (134km), Stage Two Women (114.5km):
The Heritage Stage – Barnsley to Huddersfield

The riders will loop around Barnsley Town Hall before heading out of town and the pace is likely to ramp up for the first intermediate sprint in Oxspring. Penistone and Holmfirth then both feature before the first categorised climb comes on the Côte de Netherthong. The Côte de Scapegoat Hill is next up, and once that’s been crested the route continues towards Hebden Bridge. Here the two routes split. The women will immediately tackle the Côte de Hebden Bridge while the men commence an 18.6km loop which takes them into Todmorden and up a brutal climb bearing the town’s name. They’ll then drop back into Hebden Bridge and re-join the women’s route before following it all the way to the finish. The Côte de Leeming’s presence will prove taxing, but it’s the Côte de Shibden Wall where the fireworks are most likely to be seen. This cobbled behemoth strikes fear into all those who attempt it, and the fact it comes just 18km from the finish means it could prove a springboard for late attacks. Any sprinters still in contention will fancy their chances in the second intermediate sprint at Bank Top, but there’s only likely to be a select bunch of stars who’ll still be in contention when the race reaches Huddersfield. It is here that the winner of the Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race will be crowned before the male riders battle it out for stage success.

Sunday 3 May – Stage Four Men (177.5km):
The Yorkshire Classic – Halifax to Leeds

Halifax’s Piece Hall is a spectacular location for the start of this decisive stage for the men before they head into Brontë Country. Haworth’s quaint cobbled Main Street will feature prior to the opening intermediate sprint in Oakworth. The first of seven categorised climbs is then looming large, and the Côte de Goose Eye could catch a few riders unaware coming so early in the stage. The action then returns to Skipton before the next climb comes on the Côte de Barden Moor. Once that has been scaled it’s on to Burnsall where the riders hit the Côte de Skyreholme. In Greenhow the route commences a 64km loop which includes the Côte de Lofthouse. Any stragglers that slip back on there will seek to regain parity on the subsequent descent into Masham, and then it’s back to Pateley Bridge before the riders head back up the Côte de Greenhow Hill. A second intermediate sprint will be contested in Ilkley before the race hits the infamous Côte de Cow and Calf. The final climb will then be fought out on Otley Chevin and the race then sweeps into the outskirts of Leeds via Kirkstall Abbey. All the while the pace will be rising and the action promises to reach a rip-roaring conclusion once again along The Headrow.

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