Ladies’ Tour of Qatar: Kirsten Wild confirms overall win with final stage victory
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Friday, February 1, 2013

Ladies’ Tour of Qatar: Kirsten Wild confirms overall win with final stage victory

by Ben Atkins at 7:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of Qatar
Argos-Shimano sprinter takes third stage of the race and third overall victory in close sprint finish

kirsten wildKirsten Wild (Argos-Shimano) once again proved that she was the outstanding rider in the 2013 Ladies’ Tour of Qatar, as she sprinted to victory in the fourth and final stage between the Sealine Beach Resort and the Doha Corniche. The Dutchwoman, clad in the gold leader’s jersey, powered to her third straight stage victory in the race in response to an early jump from second overall Chloe Hosking and, with a host of other sprinters on her wheel, managed to hold her lead all the way to the line.

As Hosking’s sprint faded, Lucinda Brand (Rabobank-Liv Giant) was the best of the riders in Wild’s wake and managed to take second despite being in the stage’s main breakaway group. Marta Tagliaferro (Cipollini-Giordana) won a four-way Italian battle for third place, ahead of former World champion Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda), Simona Frapporti (Be Pink) and Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Italian National Team).

The 86.5km stage was subject to far less wind than on previous days, with the peloton allowing a ten-rider group to escape just before half way. With none of its members any immediate threat to Wild’s lead, her Argos-Shimano team allowed the teams of the other sprinters to chase it down.

With the peloton back together on the final two laps of the race’s 6km finishing circuit, Argos-Shimano finally took control and, along with Orica-AIS, quashed a number of attempted breaks from Specialized-lululemon and Hosking’s Hitec Products teammates.

No rider was able to escape the high speed peloton, however, and, despite Hosking’s early move, Wild was able to comfortably finish it off.

Starting the day with a slim three-second lead over Hosking, time bonuses extended Wild’s winning margin to a more comfortable 14, with Ellen van Dijk (Specialized-lululemon) in third, at 29 seconds. The Dutchwoman’s overall victory wass her third in the five-year history of the race.

Less wind means more attacks but the sprinters still fight for the first bonuses

The race set out from the Sealine Beach Resort into a light headwind, which was to play a far smaller part than the three preceding stages. There were numerous attacks in the opening kilometres, with Hosking’s Hitec Products teammates particularly keen to get away, but the peloton was all together as it rode up the eastern coast towards the Qatar capital, Doha.

On the approach to the first intermediate sprint, in Al Wakra after 38.5km, Hosking was tucked in behind Wild, preparing to jump and try to beat the Dutchwoman to the bonus seconds. Wild was too strong, however, ahead of the Australian - with Ellen van Dijk (Specialized-lululemon) third, to increase her slim overall lead to four seconds.

In the immediate lull that followed, a nine-rider group got away, made up of Shelley Olds and Jasmin Glaesser (both Tibco-To The Top), Jessie MacLean (Orica-AIS), Carmen Small and Loren Rowney (both Specialized-lululemon), Tatiana Guderzo (Cipollini-Giordana), Lucinda Brand (Rabonank-Liv Giant) Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products), Silvia Valsecchi (Be Pink) and Audrey Cordon (France).

Small was the best placed overall in the break but, since she started the day 3’54” behind Wild in 14th place, the Argos-Shimano team was quite happy to allow them up the road. The group’s advantage was allowed to stretch to 1’25” with 36km to go, before Wiggle-Honda and the Italian national team began to pull them back.

Across the finish line with 30km to go - as the leaders began the first of five 6km finishing circuits - the gap was down to a minute, as Orica-AIS came forward to help Wiggle-Honda.

The second time across the line, with 24km left, the gap was down to 45 seconds, as Glaesser, Cordon and Olds swallowed up the bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint. With Wild and Hosking both missing out, sat back in the peloton, the fight for the gold jersey would have to wait until the final sprint.

The break begins to split as the peloton edges closer

By the end of lap two the gap was just 20 seconds, and the Wiggle-Honda and Orica-AIS led peloton had the ten leaders in sight. Since they were still forcing their rival teams to work, most of the breakaway group was happy to keep working but, as the gap fell below 15 seconds with 16km to go, Cordon attacked to try to go alone.

The French rider was soon chased down and passed by Small, and the American was joined by MacLean as the previously cohesive group fell apart. Having made it up to the leader, however, MacLean refused to come through, since it was her Orica-AIS team that was doing much of the chasing from behind.

As the members of the group began to be picked up inside the final 14km Cordon tried again, but it was an attack from Brand that finally broke the elastic. The others were quickly swallowed up by the peloton, which led to an attempted break from Katie Colclough (Specialized-lululemon), but the British rider was shadowed by Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) and the entire Argos-Shimano team; they soon caught up with Brand and, as Colclough led over the line with two laps to go, the peloton was all together.

Having allowed the other teams to chase down the break, Wild’s Argos-Shimano team now took control; Small tried to escape again, but she was marked by Orica-AIS and Argos-Shimano calmly chased her down.

Hitec Products tries to spoil Wild’s party but Argos-Shimano keeps control

Orica-AIS joined in the pacemaking at the front of the peloton to try to prevent any further moves; Rowney tried another escape on the opposite side of the road but she, like Small, was calmly pulled back. Wild was comfortably tucked in behind her team, but Hosking was right on the Dutchwoman’s wheel, and the other sprinters were lurking menacingly behind them.

Taking the bell with 6km to go the Argos-Shimano and Orica-AIS teams were still leading, and began to string the peloton out on the long, straight boulevards. The pace was not strong enough to prevent Longho Borghini from jumping away, however, and the Italian managed to open up a 50 metre gap over the hesitant bunch.

This latest attack was to suffer the same fate as the previous two, however, and Argos-Shimano calmly pulled the peloton past her; just as the Italian rider was caught though, her Swedish Hitec Products teammate Emilia Fahlin jumped away herself. Since she had not been in the earlier breakaway, Fahlin was fresher, and was 5 metres clear as she entered the final kilometre.

Orica-AIS came up, with Specialized-lululemon, and steadily reeled in the Swedish rider, catching her with half a kilometre to go, as the Netherlands team surged to the front of the peloton. Hosking tried to take Wild by surprise with an early jump across to the other side of the road; the Dutchwoman powered down the centre and, despite the best efforts of the others, cruised over the line to take her third stage of the race and confirm her third overall victory in the race.

Result stage 4
1. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Argos-Shimano
2. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabobank-Liv Giant
3. Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) Cipollini-Giordana
4. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle-Honda
5. Simona Frapporti (Ita) Be Pink
6. Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Italian National Team
7. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Specialized-lululemon
8. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Hitec Products
9. Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Italian National Team
10. Pascale Jeuland (Fra) French National Team

Final overall standings
1. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Argos-Shimano
2. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Hitec Products @ 14s
3. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Specialized-lululemon @ 29s
4. Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-AIS
5. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Specialized-lululemon @ 39s
6. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS @ 42s
7. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Orica-AIS @ 44s
8. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Specialized-lululemon @ 2’05”
9. Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) Cipollini-Giordana @ 2’07”
10. Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Wiggle-Honda @ 2’15”


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