Annalisa Cucinotta (Ale-Cipollini) claimed the opening stage of this year’s Ladies Tour of Qatar today, after beating compatriate Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda) and teammate Marta Tagliaferro (Ale-Cipollini) in the bunch sprint at Dukhan Beach.
Today’s stage was highlighted by a lone breakaway by Xiu Jie Jiang (China Chongming-Liv-Champion System), who succeeded in riding clear of the peloton, after the day’s first intermediate sprint, which was won by Shelley Olds (Bigla) ahead of Chloe Hosking and Lizzie Armitstead.
At one point, Jiang had stretched her lead out to a minute, as the race reached the 55 kilometer mark.
From there, the Jiang managed to hold on to her lead long enough to claim the second intermediate sprint. However, shortly thereafter, the Asian rider was caught by the peloton.
As the race was heading into the finale, Claudia Cretti (Italy) was the next rider to try her luck. But, a highly coordinated pursuit brought a quick end to her efforts.
From there, Cucinotta timed her sprint to perfection on the slightly-rising finishing straight, to hold-off Bronzini to seize the victory.
Top 10 Finishers
1 Annalisa Cucinotta (Ita) Ale-Cipollini
2 Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle-Honda
3 Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) Ale-Cipollini
4 Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabo-Liv Women Cycling Team
5 Shelley Olds (USA) Bigla
6 Trixi Worrack (Ger) Velocio-SRAM
7 Arianna Fidanza (Ita) Ale-Cipollini
8 Jolien D’Hoore (Bel) Wiggle-Honda
9 Kelly Druyts (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Pro-Duo
10 Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Velocio-SRAM
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