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Spratt keeps options for cycling nationals

AAP logoAAP 6/01/2017 Roger Vaughan

Amanda Spratt and her Orica-Scott teammates plan to keep their options open, despite her strong form for the Australian road cycling championships.

Spratt is the rider to beat in the women's road race on Sunday at Buninyong, near Ballarat.

She is the defending champion, winning in 2012 as well on the testing 10km Buninyong circuit.

Spratt also continues to develop as a rider and has spoken of calming the self-doubt that had once plagued her mindset.

Her storming victory last week at the Portarlington round of the Bay Classic series, when she nearly lapped the field with a solo attack, proved Spratt is ready.

But Peta Mullens' outstanding nationals win in 2015 showed it is possible to beat the powerful Orica-Scott team.

"I'm not going to be the sole leader, definitely not, but I guess it's a course I know I can win on," Spratt said.

"I know with my training and preparation that I definitely have the form to win.

"But it's one of those races, you know anything can happen and the main thing (is) we're going in with a really strong team."

Orica-Scott have dominated the nationals so far, with Caleb Ewan and in-form youngster Jessica Allen winning the criterium titles.

Kat Garfoot successfully defended her time-trial crown and Alexandra Manly took out the under-23 category.

But Spratt said Mullens' strong form at the Bay Classic was noted and she rattled off a list of other threats - Lauren Kitchen, Shara Gillow and Kate Perry among them.

Teammate Gracie Elvin, also a two-time winner at Buninyong, noted additionally that Tiffany Cromwell was a perennial threat.

Elvin will probably have a support role on Sunday, especially given she missed five days of road training over Christmas because an airline sent her bike to the wrong destination.

But Elvin also noted that had taken some pressure off her for Sunday's race.

The women will race over 102km, or 10 laps of the circuit, from 8:00am.

The elite men's 183.6km race will follow from 12.15pm.

The nationals will continue on Saturday with the men's under-23 race over 132.6km from 1:00pm.

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