photo credits @ Tour of Qatar
Two years after last winning the Ladies’ Tour of Qatar, Kirsten Wild returned in the same triumphant fashion, after claiming today’s opening stage in a sprint finish ahead of Annalisa Cucinotta (Ale’ Cipollini), Lizzie Williams (Orica-GreenEdge), Chantal Blaak (Boels Dolmans) and Shelley Olds (Cylance-Incycle p/b Cannondale).
“It’s not easy. Maybe it looks easy but it’s really hard racing. My heart rate was over 200 bpm in the sprint,” said Wild on the podium. “My team helped me really and that makes it easier of course.”
Ideal conditions welcomed the 90 riders for the start of the 8th edition, which got underway at Qatar University.
After a fairly uneventful start, things started to become a big more animated just before the first intermediate sprint of the day, where Wild claimed the first of bonus points, ahead of Chloe Hosking (WHT) and Marta Tagliaferro (Alé-Cipollini).
From there, the field became divided, creating a lead group of 46 riders.
Shortly thereafter, Chloe McConville (Orica-AIS) decided to launch a solo attack, but to no avail.
Next came the second intermediate sprint, which was claimed by Chantal Blaak (Boels Dolmans) ahead of Hosking and Tagliaferro.
“It was really chaotic. I’d used a lot of energy in that second intermediate sprint and that was only nine kilometres from the finish,” Hosking admitted. “But hopefully it will be better in the next couple of days.”
However, by opting out of the sprint, Wild was able to remain vibrant for the finale.
“I decided that if I was in a position to get seconds easily, I’d go for it, but if I wasn’t in a good position I’d let it go,” she explained afterwards. “I wasn’t in the very best position so I said I’d save my energy for the final sprint.”
Top 20 Finishers
1 Kirsten Wild (Ned) Hitec Products 2:19:04
2 Annalisa Cucinotta (Ita) Ale’ Cipollini
3 Lizzie Williams (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
4 Chantal Blaak (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam
5 Shelley Olds (USA) Cylance-Incycle p/b Cannondale
6 Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Italy
7 Monique Van De Ree (Ned) Lares-Waowdeals Women Cycling Team
8 Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Canyon SRAM Racing
9 Katrin Garfoot (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
10 Sara Mustonen (Swe) Team Liv-Plantur
11 Arianna Fidanza (Ita) Italy
12 Demi De Jong (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam
13 Roxane Fournier (Fra) France
14 Anouska Koster (Ned) Raboliv Women Cycling Team
15 Diana Penuela Martinez (Col) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team
16 Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
17 Chloe Hosking (Aus) Wiggle High5
18 Romy Kasper (Ger) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam
19 Claudia Cretti (Ita) Italy
20 Elise Delzenne (Fra) France
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