Grace Brown took an impressive stage victory in a sprint-a-deux with Amanda Spratt to not only take the win on the day but the overall Women’s Tour Down Under GC as well. Spratt had attacked on the Corkscrew climb, as expected, but Grace Brown had enough left in the tank to close down the gap to the forme 3-time GC winner on the descent and flat run-in to the finish in Campbelltown.
Alex Manly started the day in the ochre leader’s jersey, setting the tone that Jayco-AlUla was going to have to defend today. Georgia Danford of Coop-Hitec Products and was joined by Gina Ricardo of Team Bridgelane who got herself into a mini break earlier in the 2023 Women’s Tour Down Under. Behind the pair, Daria Pikulik, winner of Stage 1, took the final bonus second at the intermediate sprint. From there, Lucy Stewart, the youngest rider in this year’s Women’s Tour Down Under attacked and bridged across to the lead pair who were 2 minutes ahead at this point.
The trio just rolled over the next intermediate sprint with nothing serious to be gained. Georgia Danford began to fall back at the road began to become more rolling terrain. The following descent saw Lucy Stewart crash out on a corner, she was able to get back up but both Stewart and Ricardo were soon caught by the peloton before the Corkscrew.
Brodie Chapman did a huge turn for Trek Segafredo heading into the base and the move that everyone knew was coming was launched – Amanda Spratt went clear. Grace Brown tried to go with her but on the steepest sections, Spratt had enough to be able to ride away. The gap at the summit was around 20 seconds and with 9km left to race, Brown was able to close that gap on Spratt, plus keep a group of chasers at bay. Brown made the catch after the flamme rouge and could catch a breather in the wheel of Spratt.
Once Amanda Spratt realised she had company, the games began. She moved over to keep one of the barriers by her left shoulder, able to keep a close eye on Brown over her right shoulder. Both were keenly aware of the chasers who were within sight now. At about 225m to the finish, Brown wound things up and launched her sprint. Spratt jumped onto her wheel but had nothing left to come over the top. Brown already had 6 seconds advantage over Spratt in the GC battle so knew that was secure when she made the catch.
Behind the lead pair, Georgia Williams finished 3rd on the stage sprinting out of the chase group. That also secured 3rd in GC for the New Zealander on her new team EF Education-TIBCO-SVB. Ruby Roseman-Gannon was 4th and also 4th in GC as well. After the race, she lamented starting her sprint a little bit too early but the GC was gone by that point. Henrietta Christie took the young rider jersey for Human Powered Health, she will also be in the UCI Women’s WorldTour young rider jersey at the next race – potentially the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in a couple of weeks.
“I had to keep pushing on the descent, there was no freewheeling, that’s for sure. I actually put a bigger chainring on this morning knowing that this might be a scenario. I’m really pleased. The team did an awesome job today, they led me out into the final climb. I knew that Amanda was going to be really good on the Corkscrew, but I just kept her within distance knowing that I could potentially catch her back on the descent, and I was able to do it. Really cool to take this victory after some awesome work from my team.
Having been in a similar situation last year where I lost the GC by one second in the final stage, I wanted to be on the front foot this week.”Grace Brown
2023 Women’s Tour Down Under Stage 3 Highlights
2023 Women’s Tour Down Under Stage 3 Results
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