Australian champion Amanda Spratt had an impressive ride today on the penultimate stage of Thüringen Rundfahrt to claim the stage victory for ORICA-AIS.
Spratt launched into the race winning move out of a leading group of 15 riders which formed inside the final 50kilometres of the stage.
The 28-year-old worked well alongside her breakaway companion Elena Cecchini (Canyon-Sram) and the duo were able to open up a significant advantage of four minutes over the chasers.
In a boost of confidence ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio, Spratt was too strong for Cecchini in the final kilometre.
“I was climbing really well and feeling really good,” explained Spratt after her victory. “I just saw an opportunity not long after the main climb where it had already began to split up.”
“It was a good moment and so I attacked then Elena came across to me and we worked really well together. I think we both had an interest to try and stay away.
“It feel’s great to win, it was a target for the team coming into this race to go for stage wins and now we have ticked that box.
“For me personally, it is my final preparation before the Olympics and I have had really good feelings in the legs here so I think I am climbing well.
“I love racing this tour each year, last year I came close to a stage win but didn’t quite pull it off so it’s nice to turn that around this year and get the victory.
“Today has given me a lot of confidence, it’s always good to get a win before a big event.”
After consistently performing well together over the previous stage sport director Gene Bates was pleased the riders could wrap up the day with a well deserved victory.
“It was a really great day for us after the hard work over the previous days,” said Bates. “The move went after the major climb of the day and it was the perfect situation for us.”
“It was strange that the two riders opened up such a big time gap with Cecchini being fairly high up in the overall classification, it was real stand off in the chase group with no teams really wanting to commit and take up the chase.”
Yesterday’s third place finisher Annemiek Van Vleuten continued her string of podiums by winning the sprint from the chase group to join Spratt on the podium for the victory celebrations.
“We were able to take advantage of that and come away with the stage win which is just fantastic,” Bates continued. “Annemiek also rode on to the podium and Spratt moves up into second place on the overall so we couldn’t have asked for much more from today, it was really great day for the team.”
How it happened:
Similar to the previous stage from the beginning, the race exploded into action with riders attacking and counter attacking in an ferocious opening to stage six.
Despite being the longest stage covering 130kilometres, it didn’t deter the rider’s aggression with the race favourites in amongst all of the action.
Van Vleuten was the first of the ORICA-AIS squad to jump into a move along with three of the race favourites however, the group wasn’t given any freedom from the peloton and quickly returned.
The attacks continued yet it took a considerable amount of time before the race split into groups, eventually doing so with less than 60kilometres remaining.
16 riders broke free as the peloton began to tire over the undulating terrain, with Spratt and Van Vleuten once again displaying their form to make it into the front split.
As the breakaway group established itself, in a repeat of yesterday’s stage when Gracie Elvin found herself away with just one other rider, Spratt employed the same tactic and along with Cecchini launched out of the wheels and the duo rapidly gained a one minute advantage.
The 14 chasers settled down with teammate Van Vleuten able to conserve energy, whilst the leading duo displayed impressive strength and determination to increase their lead out to over a three minutes 50seconds heading inside the final 20kilometres.
The time gap continued to increase opening up to a maximum of four minutes once the leaders headed through the 10kilometre to go mark.
In the final, Spratt shot past Cecchini to take the stage honours and move up into second place overall with just one stage remaining.
The Australian was also awarded the most active rider’s jersey on the podium, another reward for her huge effort.
Thüringen Rundfahrt stage six results:
1. Amanda Spratt (ORICA-AIS) 3:47:31
2. Elena Cecchini (Canyon-Sram) +0:02
3. Annemiek Van Vleuten (ORICA-AIS) +4:39
General classification after stage six:
1. Elena Cecchini (Canyon-Sram) 14:18:34
2. Amanda Spratt (ORICA-AIS) +3:05
3. Ellen Van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) +3:20