Mitchelton-SCOTT women's team concluded their 2020 season on Sunday night (AEDT) at the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta - we take a look at how the Australian outfit performed during 2020.
By
SBS Cycling Central

Source:
Mitchelton-Scott
13 Nov 2020 - 10:20 AM 

The 2020 season only included 34 race days following the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent event cancellations.

However, Mitchelton-SCOTT picked up 10 UCI race wins and just as many podium places, plus 11 top-five results.

Australian star Amanda Spratt started the year in perfect fashion - claiming her third national road race title in January, while Grace Brown, 28, capped off a breakout season with a podium finish at Liege-Bastogne-Liege to go with a debut victory on European soil at Brabantse Pijl last month.

Spratt signs extension with Mitchelton-Scott
Three-time Australian champion Amanda Spratt has signed a two-year contract extension with Mitchelton-Scott through until the end of 2022.

Start of the season

It was a strong start to the year in Australia, with Brown claiming the silver medal in the national time trial championships, before racing to bronze in the road race behind winner Spratt - the third green and gold jersey of the 33-year-old’s career.

In the team’s home race - the Tour Down Under - Spratt narrowly missed out on making it a hat-trick of overall wins, finishing third overall after claiming victory on Stage 2.

Another third place followed for Spratt at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race before Lucy Kennedy’s successful title defence at the two-day Herald Sun Tour.

A return to Europe didn’t halt the run of success as world champion Annemiek van Vleuten claimed her first win in the rainbow bands at the first time of asking, soloing to victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in early February.

Return to racing post COVID-19

After more than six months with no racing, Mitchelton-SCOTT returned to action strongly as Van Vleuten powered to four successive victories, including retaining her Strade Bianche crown with an imperious ride on the gravel roads of Italy.

Victory in the European road race championships in Plouay appeared to pave the way for the 38-year-old to defend her Giro Rosa title in September.

And her defence got off to the perfect start with a solid third place in the opening stage team time trial, before an emphatic win on Stage 2.

However, disaster struck on Stage 6 when Van Vleuten crashed out while leading the race, alongside teammate Spratt, ending the team’s chances of making it three straight wins at the only women’s Grand Tour.

Breakout performers

The late season classics showed that the future is bright for Mitchelton-SCOTT in the tough one-day races - with Brown taking an impressive second place at Liege-Bastogne-Liege in her debut appearance at the event.

Grace Brown shines, Ganna a surprise winner - Zwift Cycling Central Podcast

Christophe and Macka react as Australian and Mitchelton-Scott rider Grace Brown wins the 2020 Brabantse Pijl Dames solo and Filippo Ganna claims Stage 5 of the Giro.

 

She then backed this up three days later with a superb solo victory at Brabantse Pijl, announcing herself as a serious contender in the hilly one-day classics.

The cobbled classics also showed Sarah Roy’s potential in the gritty Belgian races - with the 34-year-old claiming two top-five finishes in Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, before navigating the crosswinds to sprint to fourth place at Brugge-De Panne.

Farewells 

2020 was also the final season of Gracie Elvin’s nine-year professional career, eight of which were spent with Mitchelton-SCOTT.

The Australian heads into retirement as a two-time national road race champion as well as a host of victories and podiums across Europe, including a memorable second place finish in the 2017 Tour of Flanders.

Mitchelton–Scott's Elvin retires from cycling
Mitchelton-Scott rider Gracie Elvin has officially retired from cycling after the Tour of Flanders came to an end on Monday (AEDT).

Sports director Martin Vestby's reflection

“I think in a lot of ways the season has been successful, we had a lot of wins and it’s also nice to see that we are winning with more riders. Of course, there were some ups and downs like every year, some good and bad things, but mostly we had a lot of positives coming out of this year.

“Also as a team, after the situation that happened this year, we proved that we have a really good group of people to work with, both staff and riders. The riders have been really strong together and have worked themselves through this difficult period.

“Everybody was really excited to get back to racing and it was a situation that you didn’t know if the next race was going to be the last one, so everyone was grabbing every chance they could.

“In total, with the start of the season in Australia and then finishing off with strong results in the classics, I think we should be pleased. It’s nice to see that we have a group of riders who care for each other and are still a ‘team’ even if they’re sitting at home for six months.”

Mitchelton-SCOTT women – 2020 UCI victories

  • National Championships Australia - Road Race: Amanda Spratt
  • Tour Down Under - Stage 2: Amanda Spratt
  • Herald Sun Tour - Overall: Lucy Kennedy
  • Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Annemiek van Vleuten
  • Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa: Annemiek van Vleuten
  • Clasica Femenina Navarra: Annemiek van Vleuten
  • Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria: Annemiek van Vleuten
  • Strade Bianche: Annemiek van Vleuten
  • Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile - Stage 2: Annemiek van Vleuten
  • Brabantse Pijl - Grace Brown