23/05/2024
Spratt in the National Champions jersey

Spratt in the National Champions jersey. Credit: Amanda Spratt - Twitter

Amanda Spratt has been one of the leaders of Australian cycling and ready for her third tilt at the Olympics, having really hit her stride.

Amanda Spratt has long been one of the most respected finishers in the women’s peloton. On her way to her third Olympics, she will be one of Australia’s medal threats as the Golden Girls effort in the Women’s Road Race.

Read about the team as a whole, and her teammate Tiffany Cromwell here.

Spratt has been racing with the Greenedge program since its inception in 2012, as Orica-AIS at that time. As a young star of Australian cycling at the time, she becomes one of the apprentices of Australian cycling.

Following that apprenticeship, Spratt has become one of the finest Australian cyclists of her generation, and a stalwart of the Greenedge program (now Team BikeExchange).

Earmarked for success

Spratt started BMX racing aged nine, and was racing at the BMX Junior World Championships aged 11. She moved to the road and track aged 12, and started racing in Europe aged 18.

Spratt explained that the move to Greenedge was one of the great moves of her career and one that has paid off every year since 2012.

“In 2011, I’d had a pretty serious injury, and was coming back from that, and I was racing with the national team, but I was ready to take the next step and go to the next level,” Spratt said.

“I signed with the team that Greenedge was starting, and it was great timing, and there were lots of familiar faces.”

One of those familiar faces was Tiffany Cromwell, who raced two seasons with the team. It wasn’t the first time that Spratt and Cromwell crossed paths or the last.

“Tiff and I came through juniors together when we were 13 or 14, and Greenedge really helped us develop in those years,” Spratt said.

“It’s pretty cool to be in the Olympics with Tiff, and it’s a nice closed circle.”

Breaking out

In 2016, Spratt took her racing to another level, winning the National Championship and the Cadel Evans Road Race. She followed it up by winning the Women’s Tour Down Under in 2017, and in doing so, became a real figurehead for women’s cycling in Australia.

Spratt’s development was coming along in leaps and bounds, and she became a changed rider.

“It’s the natural development and getting that confidence. When I first started on the road, I was a track rider, so I thought I was more of the sprinter type rider,” Spratt explained.

“I fell more into that domestique role, supporting leaders, but I started getting strong and developing.”

Spratt’s team was a big part of her growth as well, both as an Australian on an Australian team, but also racing with some of the elite racers in the world.

“Having Annamiek [van Vleuten] as a teammate showed me what it is like to be the best and push yourself, and what it takes,” Spratt said.

“That combination of the natural progression and getting more confident in my ability let to taking some chances in races.”

And from those chances, results came. In 2018 Spratt was the winner of the Women’s Tour Down Under and finished on the podiums of major one-day races like Amstel Gold, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the World Championships, where she brought home silver.

That hot form continued in 2019, where she backed up the Women’s Tour Down Under, and the World Championships (bronze). It was also the development of Spratt as a stage racer, with podium finishes at the Giro d’Italia (first in 2018, third in 2019) showing that consistency.

Growing with the sport

Spratt’s rise has coincided with a growth in the profile on women’s cycling generally. The Women’s World Tour has taken steps to require that a broadcast and livestream is available live for all women’s cycling events.

“It’s a really exciting time for women’s cycling, and the biggest thing is the coverage,” Spratt said.

“There’s pressure on races to step up, which is a good think, as it means more people are seeing the races.”

Spratt knows that the profile and the talent of the women’s peloton will only help in the future.

“We’ve got lots of talent spread across a lot of teams, which makes it exciting. That’s come with the development of the sport, more teams, more professional teams, more professional environments,” Spratt said.

Leading from the front

Spratt has been a role model for many young emerging cyclists from Australia. Among those, her soon to be Olympic teammate Sarah Gigante.

“Spratty is at her third Olympics, so to be racing with her is pretty surreal,” Gigante said.

Gigante glowed about Cromwell and Spratt when asked.

“They will have a lot that they can teach me, and a lot that they will teach me, even if they don’t mean to. I’m just going to soak it up as much as I can,” Gigante said.

Amanda Spratt races with Team BikeExchange, along with Grace Brown. The advantage of racing together full time will help at the Olympics.

“We’ve raced together in the past, and we know each other really well, and I think that helps,” Spratt explained.

“We’re quite clear about the goals there and what we can do.”

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Her teammate Brown explained further, about the benefits of racing together full time.

“You get to know how you can race together, and how you can use different strengths to race really tactically,” Brown said.

“Having that 10 days of doing that in the lead up to the Olympics is going to be really beneficial.”

Spratt also explained how close all of the Australians are together while they race in Europe.

“We have a Whatsapp group, and as soon as someone is here in a team, we add them into the group,” Spratt said.

“It’s nice, we all appreciate that we are a long way from home, and we all have a lot of the same challenges being so far away from loved ones, so it’s nice to have that group.”

Spratt is on her way to her third Olympics, after racing at London and Rio. Cromwell has her down to be one of the threats for the victory.

“We have such a strong team, with Amanda and Grace as two key riders to chase for the medal,” Cromwell said.

Spratt has been a torchbearer for Australian cycling since Greenedge burst onto the scene, and has grown in leaps and bounds along with Australian cycling.

She has experience with two podium finishes at World Championships, and will be hoping to bring home gold for the Australians in the Women’s Road Race at Tokyo 2020.

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