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Spratt wins Portarlington cycling race

AAP logoAAP 1/01/2017 Roger Vaughan

Amanda Spratt's powerful ride at Portarlington has rung the alarm bells for her rivals next Sunday at the Australian road cycling championships.

The two-time national road champion dominated race two of the Mitchelton Bay Classic series, breaking clear by herself.

Incredibly, Spratt nearly lapped the field on Monday on the tough course in windy, overcast conditions at coastal Portarlington.

Spratt trails Italian series leader Valentina Scandolara by just two points, heading into Tuesday's third and final round at suburban Williamstown.

While five riders could win the series, it is effectively down to Scandolara v Spratt.

The Australian is the defending national road race champion and she also won the title in 2012.

Spratt has no trouble going into Sunday's Buninyong race with a massive target on her back.

"It's nice to come here and confirm that the form is good," she said.

While Spratt has raced in the Bay Classic more than 10 times, she has only won once at Williamstown.

She had been determined to win at Portarlington, the Bay Classic course that most suits her.

"This is my favourite course and I've been trying to win here every year - finally," she said.

Spratt led an Orica-Scott sweep of the podium for race two, with Jenelle Crooks finishing second and Annamiek van Vleuten third.

Scandolara took sixth to preserve her overall lead.

It was a strong statement by Orica-Scott after they made some tactical mistakes in race one, which Scandolara won.

"We wanted to come out here and show we are a unit and we do work well together," Spratt said.

"We were all really focused for today, to improve on the mistakes from yesterday, and we definitely did that."

Orica-Scott rode superbly, with all five of their team in a lead bunch that formed early in the race.

Significantly, Scandolara was isolated in the front group, with none of her Ale teammates.

Spratt then launched her powerful attack and Orica-Scott controlled the chasers to ensure she would stay clear.

"It was nice - and Gene (team director Gene Bates) was challenging me to lap the whole field," Spratt said.

Despite Orica-Scott's domination of race two, Scandolara was upbeat about holding onto the lead in Williamstown.

She notes that Spratt is not the top sprinter in Orica-Scott and Williamstown is a flat, sprinter's course.

"When Amanda attacked, it was fine for me - she's not the fastest in Orica ... I can still manage it," she said.

"I'm happy I kept the jersey and, hopefully tomorrow, it will be a better race for Ale.

"Amanda is a great, great rider - she doesn't have a big punch, but she's always dangerous.

"It will be hard, I'm not denying it, but I'm always fighting and I will get dropped before I stop trying."

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