“Poor Amanda Spratt,” as someone in the Rouleur office said just after a whirlwind called Marianne Vos blew past her, 300 metres from the finish of La Course by Le Tour de France.
Indeed. That finale was cruel, even by professional cycling’s cutthroat standards. Since starting the last lap, Spratt made all the running. She tore down the hill after the finish line, joined a breakaway and struck out alone over the hills.
Her Mitchelton-Scott team-mate Annemiek van Vleuten meddled admirably in a chase which ummed and aahed. At one point, it looked like the breakaway was going to make it.
Alongside the rest of the bunch, Spratt must be getting tired of the sight of Vos in full flight; the Dutchwoman beat her to Trofeo Binda victory this spring and terrorised the bunch sprints of the recent Giro too.
Hot off third place overall there, the 31-year-old Australian had to settle for a lower placing. A mainstay with the Australian team since its inception in 2012, she has gradually improven to the point that she’s one of the most respected stage racers in the game. With this kind of resilience and aggression, a big win is winging its way to her soon, along with this Top Banana.
She may have ended up 24th in Pau but frankly, I’d wager it’ll be Vos’ electric acceleration to victory and her dogged ride which stick in everyone’s mind.
Rouleur Top Bananas 2019:
Stage 1 – Greg Van Avermaet
Stage 2 – Tony Martin
Stage 3 – Michael Matthews
Stage 4 – Max Richeze
Stage 5 – Toms Skuiņš
Stage 6 – Geraint Thomas
Stage 7 – Wout van Aert
Stage 8 – Thomas de Gendt
Stage 9 – Jasper Stuyven
Stage 10 – Luke Rowe
Stage 11 – Emanuel Buchmann