Hosking takes stage three, Spratt retains lead

Chloe Hosking (Cipollini) won stage three of the Santos Women’s Tour on Monday, using her sprint to good effect against Kirsten Wild (Cylance) and Alexis Ryan (Canyon SRAM), who finished second and third respectively from a leading group of around 35 riders.

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Kate McIlroy, first kiwi over the line, photo Andrew Turner

Chloe Hosking (Cipollini) won stage three of the Santos Women’s Tour on Monday, using her sprint to good effect against Kirsten Wild (Cylance) and Alexis Ryan (Canyon SRAM), who finished second and third respectively from a leading group of around 35 riders.
Amanda Spratt (Orica-Scott) retained the race lead heading into the fourth and final stage on Tuesday, with a 19 second lead over Wild in second place.
The stage saw the riders take on a 92.4 kilometre stage, featuring two sprint primes and two queen of the mountain primes. It was another blazing hot day, with the temperature already well into the thirties when as the riders set off at 11am.
There were a couple of early breakaway attempts, but Orica-Scott kept a close eye on things in defence of Spratt’s race lead. Around the eleven kilometre mark, Erin Kinnealy (Holden) attacked and built up a lead of around a minute over the peloton behind by the 25 kilometre mark.
Kinnealy held on to take the first intermediate sprint, but the peloton was not giving her much leeway, and Kinnealy, who had been joined by Kirsten Howard (NSWIS), was caught as Orica-Scott drove the peloton to the foot of the queen of the mountain climb.
The pace on the climb fractured the peloton, with a crash in the bunch contributing to even more splitting of the group. Janneke Ensing (Cipollini) was first to the top of the climb, followed by Katrin Garfoot (Orica-Scott) and Peta Mullens (Hagens Berman Supermint).
In the run in to the second intermediate sprint of the day, Ann-Sophie Duyck (Drops) and Lucy Bechtel (Specialized) were off the front with a 20 second gap, but a determined chase by the 50-strong bunch behind saw that advantage wiped away before the line, with Hosking claiming the intermediate sprint.
The peloton was soon all back together, but with the second ascent of Whispering Wall looming, it was inevitable that the race would spread out again. Over the climb it was Ensing leading them across once again, with Georgia Williams (New Zealand National Team) in second, and Emma Pooley (Holden) in third.
With ten kilometres to go, Orica-Scott was controlling the bunch of around 35 riders, keeping things together for race leader Spratt, but in the run in to the line it was Hosking who proved too fast for the others, beating stage two winner Wild into second, with Ryan in third.
Kate Mcilroy (Specialized) was the top Kiwi in 13th place, one spot ahead of Rushlee Buchanan (UnitedHealthcare) in 14th. Amanda Jamieson (Maaslandster Veris CCN) and Georgia Williams (New Zealand National Team) also managed to finish in the top 20, and in the same time as the stage winner.
The hard work by Orica-Scott ensured that Spratt retained the race lead, 19 seconds clear of Ensing in second, with Wild in third, 50 seconds off the race lead.
Mcilroy is the best placed Kiwi on the overall standings in twelfth place, 1:01 off the race lead, with Buchanan in 14th and Williams in 17th also on the same time.

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