Ellen Van Dijk outsprints breakaway to take second Qatar stage
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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ellen Van Dijk outsprints breakaway to take second Qatar stage

by Ben Atkins at 9:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of Qatar
 
Stage and race lead for Dutch rouleur

Ellen Van DijkEllen Van Dijk (HTC-Highroad) won the second stage of the Ladies Tour of Qatar between the Museum of Islamic Art and Lusail, outsprinting the other members of a seven-rider breakaway. The powerful Dutch rouleur beat Australian champion Alex Rhodes (Garmin-Cervélo) in a photo finish, with Dutch compatriot and HTC-Highroad teammate Adrie Visser finishing third at the end of the 104.5km stage.

The first part of the stage headed directly into the teeth of a powerful headwind, meaning that the first hour of the race was conducted at an average of just 26.6kph. During this time Valentina Bastianelli (Vaiano-Solaristech) tried her luck alone, just as she had in the latter stages of yesterday’s stage; she attacked after 15km, and gained a minute on the peloton, but was reeled in at the 25km point.

After 36km, just a few kilometres before the first sprint at Umm Sawaiya Farm, there was a crash in the peloton; shortly after this a group of eight riders managed to take advantage of a switch in the wind direction and escaped. The group was dominated by HTC-Highroad with four riders present (Van Dijk, Visser, Charlotte Becker and Chloe Hosking) and Garmin-Cervélo with three (Rhodes, Iris Slappendel and Trine Schmidt); the only rider not from the two superteams was Netherlands champion Loes Gunnewijk (Nederland Bloeit).

Working hard together the group soon pulled out a sizeable gap over the peloton; at the first intermediate sprint, take by Van Dijk over Visser and Slappendel, the lead was up to 45 seconds.

Hosking, who finished third in stage 1, was the virtual leader on the road; unfortunately though, the 20-year-old Australian suffered a mechanical and was forced to sit up and wait for the peloton.

There were now seven riders up front, with the HTC-Highroad/Garmin-Cervélo ratio now three to three.

After the turn at Al Khor, with the wind now at their backs, the seven riders continued to build their advantage. At the second sprint, on the opposite side of the road to the first one and taken by Van Dijk again, ahead of Visser and Becker, the gap was up to 1’05”; as they crossed the finish line to start the two 11km finishing circuits, it had risen to 1’55”, and the next time over the line it was 2’55”.

With a little under 5km to go Scmidt and Visser tried to escape but were caught with 2km to go. In the final sprint Van Dijk managed to just edge out Rhodes, with Visser just behind her.

Alison Starnes (United States) managed to escape alone and finish 1’45” behind, 17 seconds ahead of the peloton, which was led home by Noemi Cantele (Garmin-Cervélo).

Thanks to her stage victory, and two intermediate sprints, Van Dijk takes the overall race lead, 15 seconds ahead of teammate Becker; she also holds the silver points jersey and the white young rider’s jersey, making a clean sweep of all competitions.

Result stage 2
1. Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) HTC-Highroad
2. Alex Rhodes (Aus) Garmin-Cervélo
3. Adrie Visser (Ned) HTC-Highroad
4. Charlotte Becker (Ger) HTC-Highroad
5. Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) Nederland Bloeit
6. Iris Slappendel (Ned) Garmin-Cervélo
7. Trine Schmidt (Den) Garmin-Cervélo
8. Alison Starnes (USA) United States @ 1’45”
9. Noemi Cantele (Ita) Garmin-Cervélo @ 2’02”
10. Valentina Scandolara (Ita) Gauss

Standings after stage 2
1. Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) HTC-Highroad
2. Charlotte Becker (Ger) HTC-Highroad @ 15s
3. Iris Slappendel (Ned) Garmin-Cervélo @ 21s
4. Adrie Visser (Ned) HTC-Highroad @ 24s
5. Alex Rhodes (Aus) Garmin-Cervélo @ 26s

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