To be a world class road cyclist you have to learn to love lactic acid build-ups, steadily rising pain and the mental challenge of finding a way to power on against the best, knowing you’re spent.
Springwood’s Amanda Spratt showed that on the streets of Florence on Sunday, helping her team Orica-AIS secure a podium finish in the women’s team time trial at the 2013 UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) Road Cycling World Championships.
The six-member team secured bronze after getting off to a cracking start in the 42.7km sprinter-suited race, but didn’t leave quite enough collective fuel in the tank in the final, more technical five kilometres of the course, crossing the finish line more than a minute behind Rabobank Women and winners Specialized-Lululemon, who remain undefeated this season.
To get an idea of just how fast the race was, the Dutch-based champions finished in 51minutes and 10 seconds and averaged a speed of 50km/h.
“While we were obviously racing for the win we are all extremely happy with our ride,” Spratt told the Gazette after the race.
“We were the fastest team going through the first time check but paid a little for our fast start in the second half.
“ Everyone crossed the line completely spent, knowing that we left everything out on the road.
“I was going cross-eyed and felt like vomiting several times in the last 15km so I knew that I committed everything that I had.”
The 26-year-old Olympian road cycling specialist — who lives and trains in northern Italy for nine months of the year — said she decided to devote more training hours to team time trials at the start of this year when that shorter form of racing was reintroduced to the World Championships.
“As such I have prepared differently than previous years ... in order to make the team and then to become an integral part of our team.
“2013 has been a bit less consistent for me but I have still had some good results, including fourth in a World Cup round and finishing in 15th place in the UCI World Cup overall ranking for 2013.
Spratt’s focus now turns to representing Australia for the fourth consecutive time in the gruelling, 140km elite women’s road race at the World Championships on September 28.
“As captain of the Australian team it will be my role to direct the team on the road and to make any decisions for the team during the race,” she said.
“Due to the hard nature of the course we are essentially splitting the team up in order to get the most out of each individual ride.
“Our designated team leader for the finale will be Tiffany Cromwell, who proved herself more than capable of being able to match it with the best riders in the world this year over this sort of hilly terrain.
“Aside from the Olympic Games, the World Championships are the biggest races that we do in a year and there is always a very special feel to it, especially in Italy where the supporters are known for their passion.”
The race will be shown live on SBS2 from 10.30pm on Saturday.