Springwood cyclist Amanda Spratt eyes off Olympic berth

On the charge: Amanda Spratt (centre, GreenEDGE uniform) battled difficult crosswinds during the race in Aalburg. Photo: Bart Hazen.
On the charge: Amanda Spratt (centre, GreenEDGE uniform) battled difficult crosswinds during the race in Aalburg. Photo: Bart Hazen.

Springwood cyclist Amanda Spratt has produced her best result of the European season just weeks before national selectors announce the three-rider team for the London Olympics.

The Australian road champion put herself on the podium for the first time this season with a third-place finish in the Dutch town of Aalburg behind World Cup champion Annemiek Van Vleuten and Shelley Olds.

Spratt said it was great to cash in on what had already been an impressive year.

“I have had a few top 10 results in bigger one-day races this year, so it was great to finally crack onto the podium amongst some very strong competition,” she said.

Having positioned herself in a group of 29 riders that broke clear just 20km into the 121km race, Spratt and Olds were the only riders capable of sticking with Van Vleuten when she rode away on the final lap. Lacking the sprint pedigree of her two rivals, Spratt was eventually forced to settle for third.

Following a heavy schedule of racing during April and early-May that took the Orica-GreenEDGE rider to China, Spratt had herself primed for the Valkenburg Hills Classic – the day before Aalburg.

“I had tailored my training to be in good form for Valkenburg, however an untimely puncture when I was in the winning break effectively ended my race. This meant that I had a fair amount of fire in the belly on the start line at Aalburg and was determined to get a good result,” she said.

With the cut-off date for Olympic qualification performances having passed, selectors are set to announce the three Australian women to contest the Olympic road race in London. With the national title and a solid European season under her belt, Spratt believes she is in the mix.

“I still feel that I am a strong chance to make the team for the Olympic Games. I have had strong and consistent performances both last year and so far this year. Having said that there are only three spots for the women’s road team so selection will be tight and no spot is a given,” said Spratt.

Rather than buckling under the pressure to produce results in an Olympic year, the 24-year-old said she thrived under those conditions.

“If anything it makes me more determined and often I will have my best results in these situations,” she said.

While it will no doubt be an anxious wait, Spratt has little time to dwell as she prepares for the Giro d’Italia on June 29. Competitors will cover 1000km over nine days in one of the biggest tours on the calendar.