Jess Pratt finished a solid season start for our team after the four-day Santos Women’s Tour Down Under, when she finished ninth on the general classification. The 2019 CANYON//SRAM Zwift Academy winner, on debut with her new team, jumped fourteen places in the general classification following last night’s circuit stage four in Adelaide, Australia.
“To finish my first tour with the team and to get ninth on GC makes me super excited. Mostly, because I learnt so much this week racing with the girls and it was just the best start to 2020,” said Jess. “It makes me excited for the rest of the year and I’m very happy to be part of such a cool team.”
“It was a tough crit for the final stage. It was a hard, solid course but I’m quite used to racing crits in Australia so I think that helped. Five riders went away and I just moved straight away to try to go over to them,” explained Jess after a 12-rider breakaway went in just over halfway into the stage.
“There was a lot of action within our breakaway and it was really hard. I tried to play it smart, and then when they didn’t catch us on the final lap, I tried but I didn’t handle the finish the best. It was a great experience, and I’m happy with my first tour with CANYON//SRAM Racing.”
Read the reactions from each of our other riders, and what road captain Tiffany Cromwell had to say below about the team’s performance.
“I think we can be happy with the tour overall. We had a relatively young and inexperienced team here, with the exception of Alexis and I, and I think it was actually really good to have that kind of squad here. Most of those girls are usually given a job to look after more experienced riders on the team, and they don’t often get opportunities to go for a result themselves and experience what that feels like. They learnt a lot and grew as riders during this tour.”
“It was a shame that Alexis was sick and even though she wasn’t at full strength, she still was able to ride quite well. Her condition is good and when she’s back to full health she will be firing.”
“I think for Tanja it was a really great experience to mix it up in the sprints. She has more learning to do, but at the same time I like to think she has gained a bit more confidence with the areas she has already improved on. To go into stages with a team around her means a lot, and I’m sure that whole experience will help her in the future.”
“Ella and Jess performed probably even beyond expectations, especially Jess, considering it was her first race with the team. We know they have potential but they both rode strongly, were always present, and they handled themselves really well. The top ten on GC for Jess is a nice reward.”
“Hannah wasn’t confident in herself coming into the tour but proved straight away on the first stage that her form is up there. She was able to help the team each day, and could do that even after she had a small crash so it was great to see.”
“We don’t come home with a jersey or big result against our name, but we do take a lot of confidence out of the tour. It will help these younger girls ahead of the season to know that they can mix it with some of the bigger names and when they get another opportunity, they can really grab it with both hands.”
“For me personally, I enjoyed it a lot. It was good, hard racing. It was nice to be able to help the team and give them guidance which I hope we’ll see pay dividends as the season progresses.”
“Obviously when it’s a home race I would have loved to have performed a bit stronger, but I need to remember where my goals lie and I’m happy with my condition for this time of the year. I will take some confidence going into the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race which is my first little target as we build into the spring classics over in Europe.”
“I think the women’s TDU went pretty well for me and as a team there were lots of positives to be taken out. We were all committed to the race plan and executed each stage to the best of our abilities; we worked well together with some really nice cohesive efforts, and also identified areas of weakness where improvements can be made.”
“I think it’s promising going into our next two races in Geelong, where we can build on what we’ve experienced here.”
“For me personally, it’s really rewarding to be able to learn something in each stage, as there are always little things that you can pick up to work on for future races. It was also nice to feel strong and gain a little confidence in my ability.”
“I had a good start, a bit of bad luck, but I took a lot of confidence out of stage 1. I was struggling in stage 2, but I could see my climbing abilities are getting one step further. Creating a well-working break in stage 3 was satisfying. But then I finished stage 4 quite disappointed, with no legs and a bit of frustration. As an early start to the season it was really an up and down tour for me personally.”
“For the team it was a good start since we were able to execute our plans, and we stuck together well as a team, especially in stage 1 and 3.”
“Throughout the whole tour the ambience was just really supportive. Jess, as our newest member and the recent Zwift Academy winner, ended up 9th in the GC after being in the break in the final criterium. This made me really happy and proud of the development of the Zwift Academy.”.
“Before coming here to Australia, I was really unsure about how the racing would be.”
“But I was surprised about how good it felt. We worked well together as a team but had some bad luck at some points. There are improvements we need to do but we can look forward to the next races and take motivation out of the first tour. So, it was a great start to the 2020 season.”
“Personally, I came to Australia with good form and expectations/hope of getting early season results. Coming down with the flu two days before the race was not in the plan.”
“I suffered the entire race, but did what I could for the team. However, my illness gave the young, less experienced girls on our team a chance to shine. They really pulled through!”
“I have enjoyed every minute of supporting them this week and am so happy to see them learning and gaining confidence in themselves.”