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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, January 13, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

How many emperors and how many princes have lived and died and no record of them remains, and they only sought to gain dominions and riches in order that their fame might be ever-lasting. - Leonardo da Vinci

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Mitchelton-Scott reports on Australian Championships

The team sent me these two reports:

Amanda Spratt claims third Australian Championship

Two-time world championship medallist Amanda Spratt has claimed her third Australian title in emphatic style in Ballarat today. The 32-year-old went into the race as the sole leader for Mitchelton-SCOTT and her teammates delivered the aggressive race plan to perfection.

Amanda Spratt

Amanda Spratt winning stage two of the 2019 Tour Down Under

Having completed the work for Spratt, Grace Brown finished off the day with the bronze medal, with Justine Barrow finishing between the pair for silver.

With clear tactics at the start of the day, Mitchelton-SCOTT launched their race plan early and surprised much of the bunch.

After early work from Gracie Elvin, Brown moved to the front with Spratt on her wheel on the third time up the climb and they immediately shattered the bunch.  Barrow was the only rider able to react and the trio began to extend their advantage over the first chase group.

The gap settled between two and three minutes as the trio shared the workload on different parts of the course. Behind, 2019 Jayco Herald Sun Tour champion Lucy Kennedy covered the moves and it eventually extended further.

Having done a lion’s share of work across the course, Brown was unable to follow the attacks of Spratt and Barrow on the penultimate lap but continued to chase hard in case of hesitation ahead.

Despite backing herself in the sprint, Spratt tried to drop her rival on the final two climbs, but Barrow held strong to her wheel.

In the two-up sprint, it was Spratt who had the legs to finish off, launching from behind for another strong victory and season in the coveted green and gold jersey.

Amanda Spratt - 2020 Australian Champion:
“It’s just as special, if not more special (the third time around). I owe my team this one, they rode incredibly well, you saw how much work Grace Brown did in that break.”

“It’s unusual for us, but I did come in here as the sole leader. That comes with a lot of pressure but I’m just so grateful to the team for giving me the opportunity and that I could pull it off for them.

“Grace attacked on that climb, that was the plan to open the race up really early because we didn’t think anyone would expect that; normally there’s an early break. She was so strong and it was just me that could follow before Justine came across, she had an incredible ride too.

“After that, we knew we had a really good group and we just had to keep going.

“I felt confident if it came down to a sprint. Of course I tried on the climb as well but I was very very impressed with Justine."

Grace Brown - Bronze Medal:
“It was our plan to hit it pretty hard on that third lap. Originally we were just expecting a split in the bunch, but Spratty was on my wheel and she said ‘this is good Grace, it’s just you and I’. Then Justine bridged across and we were in a really good position.

“I worked pretty hard in that group to keep extending the lead and Spratty did the job thankfully.

“I did have that an image of Michael Freiberg in my head. I kept pushing after those last two climbs, but by the time I got to the one-kilometre to go banner, I knew I was too far behind.”

Martin Vestby - Sport Director:
“We wanted a hard race and we wanted to put pressure on early. We tried to surprise at least some riders and that worked out well. We might have expected Lucy at the front, but Grace was there and she had a great day and did most of the work to get the gap we needed and Spratty pulled it off.

“It’s actually a hard course to organise a chase. We saw that last year as well, and with two strong riders at the front there, there’s not a lot of places to make up any time.

“When it got to 45seconds it was at point of no return and we just needed to go for it. When they started to panic at the back, it isn’t organised and for us that was perfect.”

Australian Championships – Road Race Results:
1. Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 2:57:59
2. Justine Barrow +0:01
3. Grace Brown (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:11

Cameron Meyer wins Australian Championship

Twelve years after his first appearance at the race, multiple track world champion Cameron Meyer has ‘finally’ won the Australian Championship – the race that has eluded him so many times before.

Cameron Meyer

Cameron Meyer winning stage two of the 2018 Tour of Britain.

After finishing fourth on debut, Meyer has been close on several occasions, none more painful than 12 months ago when the title slipped through his fingers in the final kilometre.

After a perfect ride by the team, Mitchelton-SCOTT teammate Lucas Hamilton capped off the day with the silver medal ahead of Nathan Haas (Cofidis) who claimed bronze.

The 32-year-old, who celebrated his birthday yesterday, followed the effort of Amanda Spratt who won the women’s event earlier today. The last time the team held both the women and the men’s green and gold jerseys was in 2014 (Simon Gerrans and Gracie Elvin).

Keeping a watchful eye on the early moves, Mitchelton-SCOTT ensured they were always represented up front. After Hamilton made an initial move of three, it was Nick Schultz who joined a more established move of four alongside Marcus Culey, Jason Lea and Cameron Roberts.

Whilst Roberts lost touch, the remaining trio sat around two minutes ahead of the bunch before the big reaction came from behind.

Amongst the first of the instigators was Callum Scotson, who quickly had Meyer on his wheel and the duo joined Schultz and Culey at the front. The group was quickly joined by another chase group of four, including Hamilton, before another three bridged across with Luke Durbridge. It briefly gave Mitchelton-SCOTT five out in front, before Schultz lost touch leaving it to his teammates to finish off.

The final 30km was characterised by back-to-back attacks by the remaining group of seven, most amongst the list of favourites at the start of the day.

With a little over 20km remaining Hamilton put down his first real acceleration, but the likes of Haas, Jay McCarthy and Chris Harper worked together to bring him back with one lap to go.Meyer attacked over the top of the final climb and after an initial effort by Haas, the chase lost momentum as they started to look at each other, playing into the hands of Meyer.

With the victory all but sealed, the emotion started to show on Meyer’s face as he completed the final few kilometres. Behind, Durbridge and Hamilton attacked the chase in the hunt for the podium.

Cameron Meyer – 2020 Australian Champion:
“It’s been 12 long years. I fell in love with this race so long ago and I’ve been so close so many times. Someone asked me the other day, ‘you’ve got nine world championships why do you want this one so much?’, but my brother has won it, Luke Durbridge one of my best mates has won it, and I just wanted it so badly.

“I want to put that green and gold on and I want to take it to Europe and wear it proudly.

“As soon as the summer comes around and I land on Australian soil, this is one of the races I think about.

“I can’t thank my teammates more. I was given a lot of responsibility today with a bit of leadership and there’s a lot of pressure that comes with that, but my teammates were incredible. We were on the front foot, we always had someone out front and I had someone helping me the whole time. In the end strength in numbers won and today was my lucky day.”

Matt White – Sport Director:
“We needed key guys in the move today. The best chance for us to win was to have a numerical advantage and the boys played that out right to the end. Because we had Nick up the road, we were in driving seat and unlike recent years the selection happened later in the race, likely because of the milder weather. Once that selection happened we had the numbers, the guys rode selflessly and together; the goal was to take the jersey back on someone’s shoulder and we achieved that.

“I’ve been 12 years with Cam, it’s great to see persistence paying off for him and as a team it does mean a lot to take the jersey back to Europe with us.”

Australian Championships – Road Race Results:
1. Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-SCOTT)
2. Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-SCOTT)
3. Nathan Haas (Cofidis)

Team Bora-hansgrohe previews Tour Down Under

Here's the team's post:

In a week’s time, BORA – hansgrohe will kick off the opening races of the 2020 season in Australia. As in previous editions, the team heads to Adelaide with Jay McCarthy, who will be hoping to repeat his performance from a few years ago, where he finished on the podium of the general classification. Five of the seven riders of this squad make their Australian racing debut next week.

Jay McCarthy

Jay McCarthy. Sirotti photo

On Sunday, a 17km-long challenging circuit race around the city of Adelaide will precede the 2020 Tour Down Under proper.

Stage 1 of the six-day stage race, which starts and concludes in Tanunda, will consist of a 30km circuit in the Barossa Valley which riders have to complete five times before the peloton sets out on the following day for a 135km-long ride from Woodside to the uphill finish in the township of Sterling in the Adelaide Hills.

Stage 3 will be something for the climbers, on a 131km-long and more complex and demanding route from Unley to Paracombe. Plenty of action can be expected on this course, given its race-deciding nature in several of the past editions of the race. The following day, the longest stage awaits the riders, with its 152km-long course from Norwood to Murray Bridge. A slightly lumpy profile with a final climb at Mount Torrens should not preclude the sprinters from having their day.

The penultimate 149km-long stage will take the peloton to the south of the state, from the beachside of Glenelg all the way to Victor Harbor. The stage could suit a breakaway, but there is a final climb before the finish which could split the field before the run into the finishing town.

The final 151km-long queen stage from McLaren Vale to Willunga is likely to be the decider of the race, with the famed Willunga Hill having to be crested twice before the race winner will be crowned.

Clément Venturini is French Cyclocross Champion

Venturini's Ag2r La Mondiale team sent me this:

CLEMENT VENTURINI: “Always a source of pride”
"I wanted to give everything on this course, to deliver a complete race from start to finish. I was able to establish a fairly fast pace from the start, and I saw that I was gaining time in each lap, but none of it was easy. This is my third elite title, and they all have a very special value. It’s always a source of pride and an honor to put on this jersey. I’m racing less cross in the winter, but I really wanted to win today. The Flamanville race, a must on the French calendar, is very pleasant and I’m lucky to have won here every time I have come. Now time to focus on the road season, where I really want to raise my arms in victory, unlike last season.”

Clement Venturini

Venturini winning a stage in the 2018 Route Occitanie

THE NUMBER: 3
After 2017 and 2019, Clément Venturini has now won his third title of Elite French Cyclocross Champion, which is his second while racing in the colors of AG2R LA MONDIALE.

THE NEWS: Return to the road at la Marseillaise for Venturini
Clément Venturini will be attending the team training camp from January 16th to 24th in Altea (Spain) with AG2R LA MONDIALE. His return to racing on the road is scheduled for February 2nd at Grand Prix de la Marseillaise. He will then continue with l’Etoile de Bessèges.

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