The Australian Team has departed the 2018 UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria, finishing equal third on the medal table behind the Netherlands and Belgium. Three medals; gold in the elite men’s ITT, silver in the elite women’s RR and a silver in the junior men’s ITT making this one of the best all-around performances in recent years.
Rohan Dennis etched his name into the record books with a storming ride to claim his maiden individual time trial world title, finishing some 1:21 ahead of warm favourite Tom Dumoulin. Dennis became just the second Australian to win the event after Michael Rogers claimed three consecutive titles between 2003 and 2005.
Amanda Spratt rode alone for the final 40km of the women’s road race on her way to a silver medal. She had been one of the main protagonists in a competitive and entertaining race and is just the sixth Australian woman in sixty years to reach a World Championship road race podium.
Spratt was supported as a protected leader for the first time at the World Championships, and all assembled impressively rose to the occasion. Lucy Kennedy called it “showtime” when she lit up the race on the first ascent of Igls while keeping something in reserve to nullify attacks before Spratt slipped into what was the start of the winning move.
Earlier in the week, Luke Plapp claimed silver in the junior men's time trial, adding to his dual track world titles won at the 2018 UCI Junior Track World Championships in Switzerland in August.
The final race of the World Championships saw the men's road race, with the super demanding course profile delivering on its promise of pain, pain and more pain.
The pressure and strain were evident at 90 kilometres to go with several riders being dropped from the main peloton including three-time reigning world champion Peter Sagan. The finale was a hotly contested affair with Valverde (Spain) winning from Romain Bardet (France) and Michael Woods (Canada).
Jack Haig capped off a strong 2018 season with 19th place, 1min 21secs behind the winner, after being in all the right moves in the final 20 km. Rob Power (70th) was the only other Australian finisher on a day which saw more DNFs than riders cross the finish line. In both road races, the teamwork and commitment to the race strategy were impressive, with all riders playing their part in the race results.
In other results, Callum Scotson finished tenth in the under 23 time trial, and Jai Hindley was the best placed Australian in 11th in the under 23 road race, both bagging good results amongst high-quality opposition.
Debutants Sarah Gigante and Anya Louw gained useful experience in their junior time trial and road race campaigns, with the two 17-year olds producing top 20 Time Trial results.
Australian Cycling Team Performance Director Simon Jones:
“Overall we had a really pleasing World Championships, and it is very satisfying to see the result of good pre-planning that led to good delivery on the day.
“It’s been a terrific collective effort, and I want to pay tribute to all involved this week in Austria. The manner in which the riders came together as a team and the way the staff worked as a unit in the lead-up and throughout the week in Innsbruck. It was excellent.
“Having said that, we have already started reviewing and looking at areas for improvement, with an eye on Yorkshire in 2019 and Tokyo 2020."
Australia’s Amanda Spratt soloed the final 40km to claim a stunning silver in the women’s road race the 2018 UCI Road World Championships in Austria.
Reigning Olympic champion Anna Van der Breggen (Netherlands) soloed the final 39 kilometres of the race to to claim one of the most dominant victories ever seen at a World Championships. She finished over three minutes ahead of Spratt, with former world champion Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) taking bronze.
“I honestly I think I can be really proud with the silver medal. It caps off a great season for me,” said Spratt, who became just the sixth Australian woman in sixty years to reach the World Championships' road race podium.
Spratt, Grace Brown, Brodie Chapman, Tiffany Cromwell, Shara Gillow, Lucy Kennedy and Sarah Roy, were among the 149 starters to set out on the 156km course which featured an 85km loop before three punishing laps of a 24km circuit with 2400m of vertical climbing.
Spratt was caught up in a early crash but recovered and with the help of team mate Kennedy, was able to remain at the front of the race and in touch of the pre race favourite Dutch team and form part of the crucial breakaway.
On the penultimate lap, Van der Breggen launched herself from the main field to join Spratt's group, and despite her best efforts, Spratt was unable to keep the wheel of the Dutchwoman.
Van der Breggen soloed to the biggest winning margin in thirty years (3mins 42secs), while Spratt powered the final 40km home on her own to finish two minutes ahead of Guderzo.
“It was a tough race out there, the whole team did an incredible job throughout the first stage to get me fresh to the final,” said Spratt, whose season has included victory at the Santos Women's Tour Down Under and Emakumeen Bira, a stage win at the Giro Rosa and podiums at Amstel Gold and at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
“That meant I could get into that break before the second last climb where I knew the Dutch would attack. I was waiting for that move.
“Anna came across so quickly, I really tried to hold her wheel up that climb. She was honestly on another level today, she really deserves that title.”
WATCH THE RACE
Australian Cycling Team members Amanda Spratt, Gracie Elvin and Sarah Roy are celebrating after a dominant performance at the most prestigious women’s Tour on the calendar, the Giro Rosa.
The three members of the Australian women's outfit Mitchelton-Scott combined with fellow Aussie Jess Allen, world time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten (NED) and Jolien D’hoore (BEL).
van Vleuten made history by winning the final stage and securing the Tour win for the first time in the team’s seven-year history, while Spratt became the first Australian in 24 years to finish the Tour on the podium.
Spratt, who won stage six, grabbed third on GC and the green points jersey.
“We came here wanting to win the Giro-Rosa as a team and Annemiek has done it and it is really thanks to the entire team. The riders, the staff, everyone has worked so hard for this, it’s giving me goosebumps to see how well we have all worked together," said Spratt.