The Ladies Tour of Qatar started with an eventful first stage. The twenty strongest riders managed to break away in the last third of the stage. With just under ten kilometres to go, four ladies powered to the lead including Australia’s Chloe Hosking. In Mesaieed, the Hitec Products UCK rider sprinted to her first stage success in Qatar. Hosking captures the first Golden jersey of this 5th edition after finishing best young rider of the 2012 Tour.
Stage 1 : Museum of Islamic Art – Mesaieed, 97kms
88 riders at the start. Dry and windy
In perfect conditions for a cycling race, the 88 riders of the 5th edition of the Ladies Tour of Qatar took off this morning in front of the splendid Museum of Islamic Arts in Doha. Facing the wind, the pack remained bunched during the first half of the stage. At km 35.5, two–time event winner (in 2009 and 2010) Kirsten Wild (SKI) claimed the first bonus sprint ahead of Gilmore (WHT) and Tagliaferro (MCG). The packed bunch covered 36.8kms in the first hour.
As the wind started blowing sideways on the pack, several riders failed to keep up with the pace. At km 55, twenty young ladies powered away while former World champion Giorgia Bronzini (WHO) was left stranded behind. At the second intermediate sprint (km 65), won by Johansson (GEW) in front of Hosking (HPU) and Cromwell (GEW), the front group could enjoy a 27” lead. The gap started growing as the kilometres went by: 55’’ on the Bronzini group and 1’45 on the main pack at km 70, and then 2’ with 15kms to go.
At km 85, three riders managed to break away: Hosking, Elvin (GEW) and Brennauer (SLU). They were soon to be caught by De Vocht (RBW). The four escapees managed to stay put all the way to the finish line in Masaieed. Used to battling it out in bunched sprints, Hosking powered to her first stage success in Qatar, outsprinting Elvin and Brennauer to the line.
The Aussie captures the overall lead and the first Golden jersey of this edition. With three stages to go, Hosking has a 6’’ lead over Elvin and also leads the points and best young rider standings that she had won last year.