Monia Baccaille sprints to win final Qatar stage
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Friday, February 04, 2011

Monia Baccaille sprints to win final Qatar stage

by Ben Atkins at 10:36 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of Qatar
 
Italian champion beats World and Commonwealth champions while Ellen Van Dijk sweeps overall competitions

monia baccailleMonia Baccaille (MCipollini-Giordana) won the final stage of the Ladies Tour of Qatar between Al Dayeen and the Doha Corniche in a bunch sprint, securing the first ever win for the new Italian superteam. The Italian champion, clad in the green, white and red flag, outsprinted the rainbow jersey of World champion Giorgia Brionzini (Italy) and the Commonwealth champion Rochelle Gilmore (Lotto Honda) at the end of the 92km stage.

“I'm really happy,” said Baccaille, “I didn't imagine I’d get this result this morning, in particular because I've been working towards being in shape for the classics. But today, with Nicole [Cooke] and Marta [Bastianelli] in the escape, I remained in the peloton and had to make no effort.

“In the final sprint I tried to find a gap to go for it,” she explained, “and at 300 metres I found it. I tried, and I was lucky, no one managed to pass me.

“I have to say thanks to the team, with my teammates there is a special atmosphere, and all of us are really happy to be in this team”.

After 28km Megan Guarnier (United States) managed to escape the peloton, but she was only allowed to dangle in front of the charging peloton. As she entered the finishing circuit a few kilometres later she was still in sight, just 10 seconds ahead. The American was fighting hard though and managed to increase her lead, and as she crossed the finish line to start the first of six 9km laps, the gap had grown to 22 seconds.

With the sprinters’ teams determined though, and the flat desert roads offering little shelter to a lone rider, Guarnier, who normally rides for Team Tibco, was caught soon after crossing the finish line for a second time.

The peloton stayed together for the next lap, where the intermediate sprint was taken by Valentina Bastianelli (Vaiano Solaristech) from Roxane Knetemann (Skil-Koga) and Iris Slappendel (Garmin-Cervélo); soon afterwards though, a group of ten riders escaped including 2007 world champipn Marta Bastianelli and 2008 World and Olympic champion Nicole Cooke (both MCipollini-Giordana), Suzanne De Goede (Skil-Shimano), Valentina Scandolara (Vaiano-Solaristech) and new VeloNation diarist Tiffany Cromwell (Lotto Honda).

Although there was now a group ahead of the peloton instead of a lone rider, the sprinters’ teams allowed the 10 riders no more leeway than they had Guarnier. As Scandolara took the final intermediate sprint ahead of Cooke and Cromwell, with 18km to go, the lead was a slim 23 seconds; it was to grow to a maximum of 32 seconds but steadily came down as they neared the finish.

With the peloton almost upon them with 5km to go, Cooke and De Goede escaped, it was to no avail though and the duo was caught at 2km to the finish.

In the sprint Baccaille managed to hold off Bronzini, marking the beginning of what should be yet another season-long rivalry between the two Italian sprinters, and stage one winner Gilmore.

Finishing fourth on the stage, and with none of the time bonuses taken by her overall classification rivals, Ellen Van Dijk secured the gold jersey. The 23-year-old Dutchwoman also secured the white jersey for young riders and, thanks to consistent high finishing, won the silver points jersey to take a clean sweep of the individual competitions.

Thanks to their domination, with Garmin-Cervélo, of stage two, and Van Dijk’s stage victory, HTC-Columbia also netted the team competition.

Result stage 3
1. Monia Baccaillie (Ita) MCipollini-Giordana
2. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Italian National Team
3. Rochelle Gilmore (Aus) Lotto Honda Team
4. Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) HTC-Highroad
5. Aurore Verhoeven (Fra) Gauss
6. Sarah Düster (Ger) Nederland Bloeit
7. Elke Gebhardt (Ger) German National Team
8. Pascale Jeuland (Fra) French National Team
9. Rasa Leleivyte (Ltu) Vaiano Solaristech
10. Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) MCipollini-Giordana

Final overall standings
1. Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) HTC-Highroad
2. Charlotte Becker (Ger) HTC Highroad @ 15s
3. Iris Slappendel (Ned) Garmin-Cervélo @ 20s
4. Adrie Visser (Ned) HTC-Highroad @ 24s
5. Alex Rhodes (Aus) Garmin-Cervélo @ 26s
6. Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) Nederland Bloeit @ 32s
7. Trine Schmidt (Den) Garmin-Cervelo
8. Rochelle Gilmore (Aus) Lotto Honda Team @ 2’00”
9. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Italian National Team @ 2’03”
10. Chloe Hosking (Aus) HTC-Highroad @ 2’14”

Other classifications:
Points (silver) jersey: Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) HTC-Highroad
Young riders’ (White) jersey: Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) HTC-Highroad
Team competition: HTC-Highroad

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