Grace Anderson in action for Team Illuminate during 2017, photo provided

Grace Anderson moved into the top ten overall and maintained her lead in the best young rider competition at the Santos Women’s Tour stage 3 between The Bend Motorsport Park and Hahndorf.  Amanda Spratt of Mitchelton-SCOTT took the stage honours and with it the race lead from Katrin Garfoot; as Kiwis Anderson & McIlroy remained in the top ten overall, and Sharlotte Lucas and Mikayla Harvey both advanced further up the top 20.

Vantage Team New Zealand have gone from strength to strength in the 2018 Santos Women’s Tour, progressing forwards continually to the point where with only today’s stage remaining two of their outfit sit in the top 15 overall – Anderson 9th and Mikayla Harvey 13th – with Linda Villumsen of Team Virtu Cycling Women 16th and Kate McIlroy and Sharlotte Lucas of Specialized Women’s Racing 8th and 18th respectively.

Stage 3 featured a gradually rising and rolling segment of road with a couple of sharp spikes towards the end of the stage.  The stage would be won by a long range break from 40km out as Amanda Spratt and Lauren Stephens of Cylance but only after Linda Villumsen went off on a rather audacious solo breakaway in the wind and rain.  The former world time trial champion built a lead that went as far up as 5 minutes; a dangerous advantage as Villumsen began the day just 1.05mins behind overnight lead Katrin Garfoot of UniSA-Australia.

Spratt and Stephens’ attack was launched in part because of Garfoot missing a crucial split.  With Villumsen still out in front the pair proceeded to track her down and eventually catch her and hold a lead of 1.45mins before Villumsen finally dropped off the pace leaving two out in front.  Spratt and Stephens were able to withstand the chasers though and in the end Spratt proved stronger by 7 seconds while behind them Grace Brown of Holden Team Gusto Racing leapt from the chase pack to take third place 59 seconds back.

Mikayla Harvey and Grace Anderson, whose consistency has impressed during the race so far, again managed to get up into the top ten at the finish line; with Harvey 2 seconds ahead of Anderson in 7th place.  Also making the top 20 at the end of a trying day were Sharlotte Lucas of in 19th and Deborah Paine in 20th.

The result means that with just today’s racing remaining Kate McIlroy of Specialized Women’s Racing is the highest placed Kiwi overall in 8th place ahead of Grace Anderson in 9th.  The pair are 2.25mins and 2.42mins behind Spratt respectively with Mikayla Harvey 13th at 2.54mins, with Villumsen 16th at 3.15mins and Lucas 18th at 3.25mins.

In the best young rider classification it’s New Zealand 1st, 2nd and 4th with Grace Anderson leading Mikayla Harvey by 12 seconds and Deborah Paine 4th at 1.38mins.

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