In-form Springwood cyclist Amanda Spratt is gearing up for a hot summer of racing, starting with the Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Ballarat on January 7.
A two-time elite women’s title holder and 2017 runner-up, the 30-year-old said she was “in the best shape I’ve ever been in in my career at this time of the year.”
In preparation for the hilly championships course she’s been putting her legs to work – into Richmond via Hawkesbury Road and also on the highway up to Mt Victoria. Peddling up to 700km a week, Spratt’s been focused on building strength on the bike day by day.
She’ll defend her title in the Women’s Tour Down Under from January 11-14, before going on to the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on January 27.
This year the course for the four-day Tour Down Under, held in South Australia, has been lengthened, and includes a 6km uphill finish.
“I’m hoping to have a good performance,” Spratt said.
“I have a lot of confidence heading into the summer season.”
“It’s more of a professional tour now. This year there are quite a few international teams and riders coming out for it. It’s a great opportunity to avoid winter [in Europe] and come out for it.”
Spratt held the women’s Great Ocean Road Race elite women’s title in 2016, but battling the heat and just a week between races last year, she finished 36th.
She’s hopeful with a longer break between the two events this year she’ll be in better shape.
Returning to Australia in November, the dual Olympian rode with her dad and members of Penrith Cycling Club in the 157km L’Étape Australia race in the Snowy Mountains on December 2.
The 157km race was shortened by 50km due to heavy rain and galeforce winds to finish in Jindabyne instead of Perisher where it was just -4 degrees.
Designed to provide an experience like the Tour de France, Spratt was the fastest woman across the line, flying down the hills at up to 86km/hr.
It follows a good season in Europe, where she was fifth overall in the prestigious 10-stage womens Giro d’Italia in July.
In February she’ll head back to Europe for training in Spain, then on to Belgium for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the first of the cobbled classics.