Lotta Henttala sprints to 2nd as road season opens in Australia

Trek-Segafredo's Finnish sprinter begins 2020 with a podium in Stage one at the Santos Tour Down Under

The four-day Women’s Santos Tour Down Under kicked off Thursday in warm and windy conditions and ended with an expected bunch sprint that saw Chloe Hosking (Rally Cycling) outkick Trek-Segafredo’s Lotta Henttala for the win and Matilda Raynolds (Specialized Women’s Cycling) finish in third.

The 116-kilometer stage was animated by a breakaway that saw Brodie Chapman (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) hold off the charging peloton deep into the final kilometer.

Chapman held a two-minute lead at 14 kilometers to go, forcing Trek-Segafredo to use up teammates in the chase, and ultimately leaving Henttala to free-lance the sprint.

I felt it was a little bit strange in how it played out.

“I felt it was a little bit strange in how it played out; there was a strong rider, Brodie (Chapman), in the front and our team had to do a lot of work to get her back with some other teams. We caught her with like 500 meters to go,” explained Henttala.

When the stubborn Chapman was finally overtaken, there was little real estate left for any organized lead out. Henttala jumped first, but pre-race favorite Chloe Hosking wasn’t to be denied.

“When we caught Brodie, there was not a really a super hard lead-out from anyone, and I felt like I had to go now, with 400 meters to go, because there was a little downhill and then a long straight with a tailwind,” continued Henttala.

Hosking easily propelled around Hentalla, winning by a few bike lengths.

“Yeah, I guess it was a little bit too long, and Chloe was having a perfect lead-out, and she won me in the sprint. But I am happy with the second place – a good start.”

Hosking takes the ochre leader’s jersey into Stage 2 Friday.