Ladies’ Tour of Qatar: Kirsten Wild sprints to stage three as Orica-AIS goes on the attack
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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ladies’ Tour of Qatar: Kirsten Wild sprints to stage three as Orica-AIS goes on the attack

by Ben Atkins at 7:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of Qatar
 
Australian team smashes the peloton in the wind, but Dutch powerhouse takes stage and Hosking holds lead

kirsten wild

Kirsten Wild (Argos-Shimano) took her fourth career stage win in the Ladies’ Tour of Qatar, as she sprinted to victory in the second stage of the 2013 race. The Dutch powerhouse was easily the fastest of a ten-rider group that had torn itself free of the peloton on another windy day between the Camel Race Track in the centre of the peninsular country and the Al Khor Corniche on the east coast.

German puncheur Trixi Worrack (Specialized-lululemon) did her best to overcome Wild on the line, but was beaten into second by the width of the Dutchwoman’s wheel, with Worrack’s Dutch teammate Ellen van Dijk taking third place.

The ten-rider group had formed midway through the 96km stage, as the Orica-AIS team went on the offensive into the strong desert wind. The Australian team managed to get five of its six riders into a nine-strong counterattack, which successfully hunted down a three-rider break on the approach to the finish.

Race leader Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products) managed to get herself into the Orica-AIS led group and took fourth on the stage. The Australian maintained her six second lead over compatriot Gracie Elvin (Orica-AIS), while third place Lisa Brennauer (Specialized-lululemon) missed the break and lost time. Wild’s stage victory moved the Dutchwoman up to third overall.

More wind in the desert; a break of three escapes and Orica-AIS smashes the bunch

The stage began, as it had the day before, into a strong headwind as it left the Camel Race Track, with the peloton staying together in the early kilometres. After eight kilometres Audrey Cordon (France), and Jiang Xiu jie (China Chongming-Giant) attacked and, since both finished almost two minutes behind Hosking the previous day, they were allowed to get away. When the two riders were 32 seconds clear Malgorzata Jasinska (Cipollini-Giordana) counterattacked and managed to bridge across the gap.

By the 14km point the trio had managed to open up a lead of 1’20”; Hosking’s Hitec Products team began to close it down but, with no help from the other teams, it sat up and allowed the gap to widen.

Jiang was first across the line at the intermediate sprint, at the “Sub Station” after 38.5km, ahead of Jasinska and Cordon. All three started the day on the same overall time, 2’07” behind Hosking, but the maximum three bonus seconds put the Chinese rider into the virtual lead; this lead was currently a very wide one, as the peloton was now a massive nine minutes behind.

This was the point that the peloton finally decided to act however, and the entire Orica-AIS went on the offensive into the headwind. The acceleration tore a group of nine riders off the front of the peloton, which began to close in on the three fugitives up ahead. With the two Specialized-lululemon riders working hard in the group, as well as Hosking herself joining in the paceline, the lead over the rest of the peloton grew quickly.

In the group were Loes Gunnewijk, Tiffany Cromwell, Elvin, Emma Johansson and Amanda Spratt (all Orica-GreenEdge), van Dijk and Worrack (both Specialized-lululemon), Hosking, and Wild. Eight of the nine were working hard, with only Wild happy to sit in the slipstream of the others.

The lead group becomes twelve as the chase continues

By the time the leaders reached the second sprint, at Umm Thenaitain Farm with 36km to go, the gap had fallen to just three minutes. The three riders up front were beginning to tire, having been out in the wind for so long, and, as the nine-rider group had them in sight on the long, straight road, they sat up and allowed themselves to be caught.

Argos-Shimano was leading the chase behind, despite Wild’s presence up front, with help from Italy, Tibco-To The Top and Rabobank, but was making little progress. More teams joined in at the head of the peloton, including Hitec Products, Wiggle-Honda, and the Netherlands, but the gap was proving hard to close.

With 28km to go, it had opened out to 1’05”, but the chase behind was gradually bringing this down. By the 25km to go banner it had been cut to 55 seconds, but there it was to stay for some time.

Most of the chasing was now being done by Rabobank and Wiggle-Honda, but with 20km to go the gap went back up to a minute. Worried about third place overall Lisa Brennauer losing too much time to Hosking and second place Elvin, Specialized-lululemon put Carmen Small into the chase; up ahead, van Dijk and Worrack were still working in the break.

The pace set by the Orica-AIS and Specialized-lululemon riders was proving too hot for the original breakaway riders and, with 12km to go Cordon was the first to lose contact. The Frenchwoman was soon joined out the back by Jiang, but Jasinska was just holding on.

Ten riders left up front and the attacks begin

With ten kilometres to go, the group - which was now ten riders strong - led by 1’05”. The pace appeared to be dropping, however, as Wild was often able to drift to the front and freewheel back again; Orica-AIS began to push things on though, and - despite the hard work in the peloton behind them - the gap did not appear to be closing.

Into the final five kilometres, neither of the Specialized-lululemon riders was working, and as the pace began to drop Cromwell attacked. The Australian was quickly marked by Wild, however, and the rest of the group was soon with them but, as soon as they were caught, Spratt tried to get away herself.

Once again it was Wild that brought the rest across, only for Worrack to attack herself. The German was not allowed to escape either though, and the group was all together again as it entered the final two kilometres.

Johansson was the next Orica-AIS rider to try to get away, but this just had the effect of dropping Spratt from the group. The rest entered the finishing straight together, however, Wild opened up her sprint with 300 metres to go and held off Worrack’s challenge on the line.

The chasing peloton crossed the line more than a minute behind.

Sprinting to fourth place, Hosking missed out on the time bonuses but increased her overall lead over everybody bar Elvin, who finished in sixth place. Ten seconds bonus for Wild, however, moved the two-time race winner to third overall, just nine seconds behind.

Result stage 2
1. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Argos-Shimano
2. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Specialized-lululemon
3. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Specialized-lululemon
4. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Hitec Products
5. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS
6. Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-AIS
7. Malgorzata Jasinska (Pol) Cipollini-Giordana
8. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Orica-AIS
9. Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) Orica-AIS @ 6s
10. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica-AIS @ 14s

Standings after stage 2
1. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Hitec Products
2. Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge @ 6s
3. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Argos-Shimano @ 9s
4. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Specialized-lululemon @ 16s
5. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Specialized-lululemon @ 18s
6. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS @ 19s
7. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Orica-AIS @ 26s
8. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Specialized-lululemon @ 1’38”
9. Rochelle Gilmore (Aus) Wiggle-Honda @ 1’50”
10. Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) Cipollini-Giordana @ 1’51”

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