US champion defends Ochre leader's jersey and wins the general classification at the 2020 edition of the Santos Tour Down Under, netting Trek-Segafredo's first race win of the season.
Ruth Winder stood on top of the podium this Sunday in Adelaide after securing the overall race win in the fourth and final stage of the Santos Tour Down Under.
The 26-year-old reigning US national road champion stole the show on stage three when she powered to victory in Stirling propelling herself to the top of the general classification. Winder, racing her second year in Trek-Segafredo colors, started the final stage, a fast and furious 42.5km criterium-style affair in Adelaide, with all but seven seconds advantage over Liane Lippert (Team Sunweb) and Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) but Trek-Segafredo rode strongly as a team and successfully defended the Ochre leader’s jersey.
“Every bike racer needs a really strong team. This is not a single-person sport and It’s a shame I can’t bring them all onto the podium with me.”
But the stage wasn’t all smooth sailing. Alarm bells rang when Lippert won the first intermediate sprint shaving down Winder’s advantage to just four seconds. However, Trek-Segafredo ramped up their game and Lotta Henttala won the second intermediate sprint and Winder took third.
In the following laps a 11-rider breakaway went clear of the bunch and opened up a gap of over 30 seconds. A move that Trek-Segafredo was content to let go as it increased their chances to secure the race overall. DS Ina-Yoko Teutenberg explained:
“We lost two seconds on the first intermediate and you could hear on the radio that the girls got a little nervous. But you know, there were three sprints before the final one and they made up on the second one even if we lost one second to Spratty (Amanda Spratt). Then we were wise to let the breakaway go and even if there were some riders in there within 30 seconds of Ruth (Winder) we knew we could keep it under control. The longer the breakaway could stay away, the better for us, so we let that play out.”
Jaime Gunning (Specialized Women’s Racing) took maximum points in the third and final intermediate sprint and the stage honors went to Simona Frapporti (BePink) who outsprinted her breakaway companions for the win.
“I felt a lot of nerves before the race but during the race I just felt excited to try and do it. I knew I had a really strong team leading me out so I just had to try and finish it off. We were happy to let the breakaway go specially because Liane (Lippert) was sprinting really well,” said Winder.
Ruth Winder brought the Ochre leader’s jersey home as she crossed the finishing line safely in the bunch thereby securing the overall win of the 2020 Women’s Santos Tour Down Under, the first GC victory for Trek-Segafredo in 2020.
“To win a stage in a stage race is really, really special but to win a GC doesn’t really happen very often so I’m really, really happy!”
In the end, Ruth Winder won the race with a five seconds lead on Lippert and six seconds to spare to three-times winner and defending champion Spratt. On top of notching the GC, the American squad concluded the race in Adelaide with two podium placings, courtesy of Lotta Henttala on Stage 1 and Winder on Stage 2, plus a stage win in Stirling by the US Champion which ultimately paved the way to the overall win.