Italy’s Simona Frapporti avoided a bunch sprint finish to claim her first win of the season in the closing stage of the Santos Tour Down Under that consisted in 25 laps in the streets of Adelaide, while Ruth Winder bravely defended her overall lead in the first two Ziptrak Sprints to take home a worthy title.
“It feels pretty crazy to win the Santos Tour Down Under,” Winder reacted. “Team Sunweb and Mitchelton-SCOTT really put us under pressure. I’m really happy to pull it off. I’m still really excited after the stage I won yesterday. It’s such an incredible feeling. It’s not a single person’s sport. For every win, you need a strong team. I wish my team-mates could accompany me on the podium.”
The first Ziptrak Sprint after lap 6 saw the dominance of Team Sunweb with Liane Lippert and Leah Kirchmann taking the first two places with Winder in third, which meant Lippert got closer to the overall lead, only five seconds down.
The second sprint after lap 12 was won by Lotta Henttala (Trek-Segafredo) who stole the time bonus to favour Winder, third on the line again behind Spratt who benefitted from a good lead out by Mitchelton-SCOTT.
Ten riders managed to form the first breakaway on lap 15 with Brodie Chapman (FDJNouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope) being the most active of them all. It gave the opportunity to Jaime Gunning (Specialized Women’s Racing) to win the third Ziptrak Sprint ahead of Lauren Stephens (Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank).
A member of the breakaway, Rushlee Buchanan (Vantage New Zealand National Team) opened a gap with four laps to go. With a deficit of thirty seconds, it was game over for the peloton in the last five kilometres of racing but Trek-Segafredo paced to retain the Santos Ochre Leader’s Jersey. Buchanan got reeled in by the chasers at bell lap. Frapporti, who was also one of the ten breakaway riders, emerged in the last straight line to take her first victory of 2020.
“It’s always nice to win on the first stage race of the year,” Frapporti said. “Coming from Italy, we were behind the locals in terms of condition but I was feeling very well today. So I took my chance. I’m sure my two brothers (Marco and Mattia Frapporti) who are professional cyclists too will be happy to hear that I’m a winner today. It’s important to start an Olympic year with a victory. It’s perfect for the confidence.”