Kirsten Wild (Team Argos-Shimano) claimed her second stage win and moved into the overall lead in today’s third stage of the women’s Tour of Qatar.
The 86 riders remaining in the race took off from the Al Thakhira harbour for another another tough day across the peninsula under the influence of strong winds.
Despite several attempts, the peloton remained together all the way to Al Zubara, north-west of Qatar. After having covered close to 48 kilometres during the first hour thanks to the strong tailwind, Kirsten Wild (Team Argos-Shimano) claimed the first intermediate sprint at the 60km mark, beating golden jersey Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products UCK) and Charlotte Becker (Team Argos-Shimano) and claiming the precious three bonus seconds.
As the pack headed up north and the wind started blowing sideways, several riders failed to keep up with the pace. When a crash occurred in the peloton, a group of 18 riders pulled away including race leader Hosking, Wild, Gracie Elvin (Orica-AIS), Ellen van Dijk (Specialized-lululemon) and Troxie Worrack (Specialized-lululemon). The front group enjoyed a 40-second lead after 83km on a group of 22 that included including Tiffany Cromwell (Orica-AIS), Rochelle Gilmore and Georgia Bronzini (both Wiggle Honda).
With 25km to go, as the riders entered the final circuit, the first two groups bunched up together again. Eight riders gave it a go but where rapidly caught before reaching Madinat Al Shamal for the second bonus sprint won by Lisa Brennauer (Specialized-lululemon) ahead of Chantal Blaak (Team TIBCO-To The Top ), who had both broken away just before crossing the line. Kirtsen Wild powered to third spot ahead of the pack, five seconds back.
With 10 kilometres to go, Brennauer and Blaak still had a 10-second lead. They were caught by Emilia Fahlin (Hitec Products UCK) and Noemi Cantele (BePink) and then by the whole golden jersey group with five kilometres to go.
As the resulting group of just under 40 riders heading for the finish line, race leader Chloe Hosking suffered a puncture with 3km to go. Despite being eventually given the winner’s time, she could no longer hope for stage victory and extra bonus seconds. Well helped out by her Argos-Shimano team mates, Kirsten Wild powered to a second consecutive stage win, beating Van Dijk and Bronzini.
It was Wild’s fifth victory in Qatar and put her in command of the overall standings. With just a day to go, Wild has a 3-second lead over Hosking and 16 seconds over Elvin, while she also leads the points’ standings. Hosking remains best young rider of the event and will carry the White Pearl jersey tomorrow.
Global Cycling Network was there and shot this highlights video:
1 Kirsten Wild (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano 2:28:15 2 Elen Van Dijk (Ned) Specialized-lululemon 3 Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda @0:02 4 Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) MCipollini Giordana 5 Shelley Olds (USA) Team TIBCO-To The Top @0:04 6 Simona Frapporti (Ita) BePink @0:05 7 Trixi Worrack (Ger) Specialized-lululemon 8 Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS 9 Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-AIS 10 Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Orica-AIS Overall standings 1 Kirsten Wild (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano 7:30:43 2 Chloe Hosking (Aus) Hitec Products UCK @0:03 3 Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-AIS @0:16 4 Elen Van Dijk (Ned) Specialized-lululemon @0:17 5 Trixi Worrack (Ger) Specialized-lululemon @0:26 6 Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS @0:29 7 Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Orica-AIS @0:31 8 Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Specialized-lululemon @1:52 9 Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) MCipollini Giordana @1:58 10 Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Wiggle Honda @2:02 (Results blatantly nicked from www.cyclingnews.com)