Like very often in Qatar, wind was the main theme of the day’s second stage. After three riders managed an early breakaway, the race favourites made the best of the side wind to take off. After catching the courageous escapees, 9 ladies made it clear to Al Khor where Kirsten Wild captured her first success of the year, claiming a record fourth stage victory in Qatar. The Golden jersey remains on the shoulders of Chloe Hosking, fourth today.
Stage 2: Camel Race Track – Al Khor Corniche, 96kms
88 riders at the start. Dry and windy
Like a year ago, the 88 riders of the Ladies Tour of Qatar took off in windy conditions from the Camel Race Track just outside Doha for a 96km journey all the way to Al Khor and its corniche. After just 6.5kms, China’s Jiang (GPC) broke away and was rapidly caught by two other eager riders: Jasinska (MCG) and Cordon (FRA). While the pack had to deal with a strong head wind, the gap increased from 2’ at km 20 to a maximum 8’50 at the first intermediate sprint (km 38.5) won by Jiang ahead of Jasinska and Cordon.
As the wind started blowing sideways on the race, nine riders powered away from the pack at km 39 including event leader Chloe Hosking (HPU), as well as former winners of the race Kirsten Wild (SKI) and Ellen Van Dijk (SLU). At km 46, the leading three could still enjoy a 4’40 advantage on the golden jersey group and 5’15 over a bunch including Bronzini, Gilmore (both WHT) and Brennauer (SLU).
The second bonus sprint (km 60) was again claimed by Jiang in front of Jasinska and Cordon, while the favourites’ group moved closer, 1’30 adrift. The escapees were eventually caught at km 63. Twelve competitors continued powering to the finish, enjoying a 1’ lead with 20 kilometres to go.
After Cordon and Jiang dropped out of the front group, nine ladies could start considering the stage win. One after the other, the five Orica-AIS girls tried to break away but were caught on each attack. It would come down to a sprint! Despite being the only member of her team, Kirsten Wild captured the win, her first this year and fourth in Qatar, making her the record holder in terms of stage victories, one better than Bronzini.
Chloe Hosking captured a fine fourth spot on the line, keeping command of the overall standings. The Australian of team Hitec Products UCK however remains under the pressure of Elvin (GEW), 6” adrift and Wild, only 9’’ behind. Hosking also leads the points and best young rider standings.