After missing out yesterday, Jayco-AlUla avoided a repeat by getting Alex Manly to the front of the race at today’s finish in Uraidla. Manly rode on the coattails of the EF Education-TIBCO-SVB lead-out before coming through ahead of the final corner with a short, clear run to the finish line. Stage 2 saw no major climbs but just some relentless ascent in the 2nd half of the stage. With that in mind, it was always potentially a day that would have some impact on the GC battle yet could potentially come down to a sprint as well.
The early riding saw Ilaria Sanguineti take the first sprint, taking bonus seconds for Trek away from Spratt’s rivals. Gladys Verhulst continued her assault on the QoM competition with a pair of 1sts over the early climbs. Unfortunately, she loses that jersey today on places to Amanda Spratt who took the bulk of the points on the major climb of the day – Mount Lofty. Claire Steels of Israel-Premier Tech Roland took the final intermediate sprint of the day before the GC racing sparked off.
Around 10km from the finish, Amanda Spratt attacked and went clear on the Mount Lofty climb. Alex Manly initially tried to go with her but was unable to hang on to the Trek rider. The 3-time Women’s Tour Down Under winner had a gap of 22 seconds over the top. The GC teams worked together however to reduce the deficit. FDJ-SUEZ, Jayco-AlUla and EF Education-TIBCO-SVB were all noticeable at the front working hard. Spratt was caught in the end with only around 350 metres to the finish line.
With no real lead-out to speak of, Manly had to freelance and sat on the back of the EF Education-TIBCO-SVB train of 2 riders heading into the final corner. She skillfully found a gap up the inside and entered the last corner in first position. With only 150 metres to the line coming out of the exit, Manly was able to kick on and keep Georgia Williams at bay to take the victory. Her 2nd Women’s WorldTour win after a stage of the Tour of Scandinavia last season.
The bonus seconds see Manly take over the GC lead as Daria Pikulik, yesterday’s winner and GC leader finished over 5 minutes back. Georgia Williams is 2nd at 8″, with Grace Brown 3rd on the same time. Ruby Roseman-Gannon is 4th on 13″ and Amanda Spratt finds herself 5th on 14″ after her attacking efforts today.
“It’s brutal sometimes, isn’t it? But, that’s sport. I got a really good gap and I felt great on the climb, actually. It was really fun to be able to attack like that again. I haven’t been able to do that for a few years so, I can take a lot of confidence from it. I was just pushing so hard and hoping I could make it. That last corner just didn’t come soon enough so I got caught just before the line but, I mean, the team rode really well. We had a plan and we stuck to it and I really have to thank my team. They set that up perfectly and we’ve got one more day to chase that ochre jersey now.
The last two years have been pretty difficult for me. Over a year ago I had surgery for iliac artery endofibrosis and last season was just a whole rebuilding season so it feels pretty special that Trek-Segafredo signed me and I have joined one of the best teams in the world. I have had my first normal pre-season since 2019 and I love these races. Tour Down Under is one of my favorite races so I am so happy and motivated to be back here. It’s really special and we still have another chance to chase that win.
“Tomorrow is the Corkscrew. I’ve ridden it a few times now and it’s a climb that suits me so we just have to really focus on that and hope that we can bring it home.”Amanda Spratt
“We just had the perfect lead out and yeah I’m so thankful. To do this in my backyard is just so nice. I knew that (final) part of the road is always painful even when you go on a training ride. So, I just tried to make sure I had the momentum and of course, Spratty was going to take the opportunity to attack.
I tried to go (with her) but I just didn’t have the same legs as Spratty on the climb. I guess me being there forced the others to chase a bit and then I knew the descent and we tried to bridge back some time there.”Alex Manly
2023 Women’s Tour Down Under Stage 2 Highlights
2023 Women’s Tour Down Under 2023 Stage 2 Results
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