A final stage win for Simona Frapporti (BePink) from the breakaway was the Stage 4 result, but it did little to upset the overall general classification, with Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo) claiming the overall race victory.
It was a messy final sprint, but Frapporti managed to launch herself clear of the pack to convincingly take out the dash to the line ahead of Lauren Stephens (TIBCO-SVB) and Rushlee Buchanan (Vantage New Zealand National Team). Winder claimed the overall victory by five seconds over Lippert with three-time champion Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) a further second behind in third.
The final 42 kilometre criterium around Adelaide CBD is a bit of sideshow to the real road racing on the outskirts of Adelaide, but with the crowds roaring and the potential of a change in the general classification on the cards, the course was taken on at a high tempo throughout.
Liane Lippert (Team Sunweb) showed that the battle for the general classification wasn’t over by winning the first intermediate sprint and putting herself three seconds closer to the lead, just four seconds in arrears of race leader Winder.
“I was nervous, excited to be in the race,” said Winder after the finish. “I had my teammates especially Lotta (Hentalla) watching me, she’s a super fast sprinter so I have a lot of faith in her.”
“After that first sprint where Liane (Lippert) took three seconds and I didn’t get any seconds, I was like ‘ok, don’t panic there’s still three sprints to go’ but it worked out pretty well.”
The second intermediate point saw Winder claim back a single second by placing third with Lippert failing to place. However, the breakaway of 10 riders spoiled the GC showdown, with a combination of teams placing riders in the dangerous move.
“We couldn’t relax completely because we knew some of the girls up there weren’t too far back on GC,” said Winder. “We just knew we had to keep them in range, we didn’t want them more than 20 seconds away.”
Buchanan tried her luck by jumping out solo from the move with six laps remaining in the race, and looked like she might be able to hold off the chasers into the finish, as the group’s cooperation behind was mixed and the peloton looked to be leaving their run too late.
As the race came down to the final laps, Buchanan was hauled back in by the chasers and with the peloton just a bit too far back to contest the sprint, it was Frapporti who launched up against the barriers in the finale and proved far too rapid for the rest of the breakaway to claim the victory.
Winder reflected upon her overall victory and the moments that tipped the race in her favour.
“The win in Stirling (Stage 3) was really special for me,” said Winder, “just to win a stage was really cool and gives me and the team confidence and happiness in the way we raced as a team that day.
“I was really proud of my effort the day before and being able to stay with Lucy (Kennedy, Mitchelton-Scott) when she was driving it really hard on the climb. There’s been times in the past where I’ve not been able to stay on her wheel remotely, so that felt really nice.”
Winder’s ochre jersey brings to an end Amanda Spratt’s reign at the race, with her run of overall wins coming to an end at three.
“Spratt’s a really good competitor and put up a good race,” said Winder. “This year, I managed to pull away with the victory, but it doesn’t make me feel any more special knowing that she’s won the last three. Every year is a different year and I happened to win this year.”
The Trek-Segafredo squad will stay in Australia to compete in the Deakin University Women’s Race (Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race) and the Herald Sun Tour, with their next outing in the Trek Riders Criterium around the Adelaide CBD on Monday evening.
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Written by Jamie Finch-Penninger