Ladies’ Tour of Qatar: Chloe Hosking takes opening stage in breakaway sprint
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ladies’ Tour of Qatar: Chloe Hosking takes opening stage in breakaway sprint

by Ben Atkins at 7:35 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of Qatar
 
Four riders escape the shattered bunch in the headwind and just stay away

Chloe HoskingChloe Hosking (Hitec Products) took the first victory for her new team in the opening stage of the 2013 Ladies’ Tour of Qatar, taking a close two-up sprint from compatriot and Australian champion Gracie Elvin (Orica-GreenEdge) at the head of a breakaway group. The two Australians were the fastest of a four-rider group that escaped from the shattered peloton in the final ten kilometres of the 97km stage, between Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art and Mesaieed.

Hosking’s German former teammate Lisa Brennauer (Specialized-lululemon) beat former Belgian champion Liesbet De Vocht in the race for third, as the sprinters in the chase group bore down on the four fugitives; Italian Marta Tagliaferro (Cipollini-Giordana) won the sprint for fifth, ten seconds behind the stage winner.

A ten second time bonus on the finish line - as well as a further two seconds taken at the second of the day’s intermediate sprints - gave Hosking the first leader’s jersey of the race; the 22-year-old Australian also took the lead in the points and young riders’ competitions.

The northern hemisphere season begins and heads straight into the wind

The race set out into a stiff headwind as the course made its way south from Doha towards Al Wakra on the east coast. With the peloton all together there was a small crash after just 14km, with Anna-Bianca Schnitzmeier (Wiggle-Honda) Charlotte Becker (Argos-Shimano) and Jo Kiesanowski (Tibco-To The Top) coming down. All three were quickly back on their bikes, and were able to get safely back in the peloton.

At the first intermediate sprint 35.5km on the first passing of the Mesaieed finish line, two-time race winner Kirsten Wild (Argos-Shimano) took the three bonus seconds, ahead of Rochelle Gilmore (Wiggle-Honda) and Tagliaferro. The race then turned north east, as it began the long circuit, but as it turned north west the peloton was hit by a strong tailwind from its right hand side. With the strong teams turning up the pace on the front, the peloton split into four parts.

Before long, the front group was reduced to less than 50 riders, as it headed towards the second intermediate sprint, in Al Wukair, with 32km to go. Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS), was first to the line this time, taking the three seconds, with Hosking taking two for second and Johansson’s Orica-AIS teammate Tiffany Cromwell getting one for third.

Most of the big names of the race were present at the front, but among those to miss out was three-time stage winner, former World champion Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda), who started the day as one of the big favourites for victory.

As the race passed through Al Wakra for the second time with 22km to go, the peloton turned back into the wind and began to split even more. Inside the final 20km the front group was reduced to just 20 riders, as Hitec Products, Specialized-lululemon, Argos-Shimano and Orica-GreenEdge continued to pile on the pressure at the head of the race.

Gracie Elvin attacks into the wind and the winning break is formed

With 15km the gap between the first and second groups was more than two minutes, and continued to rise; at the ten kilometre banner it had opened to 2’30” as Worrack upped the pace again. The German forced a brief split, but was soon closed down; as the race came together, however, Elvin attacked.

The Australian champion managed to get clear, and was quickly joined by compatriot Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products) and German Lisa Brennauer (Specialized-lululemon), with former Belgian champion Liesbet De Vocht (Rabobank-Liv Giant) fighting her way across.

As the four riders began to open up a decent lead, Valentina Scandolara (Cipollini-Giordana) tried to jump across. The Italian all-rounder found herself stuck in no man’s land between the two groups however, and she slowly drifted back into the group behind her.

Hitec Products and Specialized-lululemon were present in force at the front, happy to allow their teammates to stay away, but Argos-Shimano was still riding for Kirsten Wild and so came forward to try to chase, with Lauren Kitchen (Wiggle-Honda) working for Gilmore.

With five kilometres to go, however, the lead quartet was 45 seconds clear, and still working well together.

Into the final two kilometres the gap was still 45 seconds, but the co-operation in the leading quartet began to falter a little. Riders were allowing each other to take longer turns as they began to look at one another on the urban approach to the finish and, with De Vocht stuck on the front, the others began to look over their shoulders for the approaching chase group.

The gap was too large for the chase to catch up though and, with 200 metres to go, the sprint began. De Vocht jumped first, but she was soon overtaken and the battle for the stage became a straight fight between the two Australians on the opposite side of the road.

Hosking managed to get her wheel in front, and held it all the way to the line to take a close victory. Brennauer beat De Vocht in the race for third, and Tagliaferro led the chase group over the line just 10 seconds later.

Result stage 1
1. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Hitec Products
2. Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Specialized-lululemon
4. Liesbet De Vocht (Bel) Rabobank-Liv Giant
5. Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) Cipollini-Giordana @ 10s
6. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Argos-Shimano
7. Simona Frapporti (Ita) Be Pink
8. Shelley Olds (USA) Team Tibco-To The Top
9. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-GreenEdge
10. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Specialized-lululemon

Standings after stage 1
1. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Hitec Products
2. Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge @ 6s
3. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Specialized-lululemon @ 8s
4. Liesbet De Vocht (Bel) Rabobank-Liv Giant @ 12s
5. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Argos-Shimano @ 19s
6. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-GreenEdge
7. Rochelle Gilmore (Aus) Wiggle-Honda @ 20s
8. Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) Cipollini-Giordana @ 21s
9. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
10. Simona Frapporti (Ita) Be Pink

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