DOHA, February 4, 2016-After a fantastic start to the season including victory at the Tour Down Under and the national time-trial title, 34-year old Katrin Garfoot made the best of her experience to conquer stage 2 of the Ladies Tour of Qatar. The Australian made the best of an extremely eventful day to not only clinch her first success in Qatar, after a final solo effort, but also to claim the overall leader’s Golden Jersey. This second day of the event will be one Kirsten Wild will want to forget: a broken chain followed by a crash saw her hopes of winning a fifth crown fade away.
Under a cloudy sky and fairly mild temperatures, the 90 riders of the Ladies Tour of Qatar took off at 12:30 for stage 2 of the event: a 120-km ride from the splendid Sheikh Faysal Museum all the way to the Al Khor Corniche. After a first attempt at kilometre 3, Swedish rider Alexandra Nessmar (LWW) managed to break free from the pack 8 kms later and was rapidly joined by Chinese Yue Bai (GPC). Both ladies enjoyed a maximum 2’20 advantage at km 39 before seeing the pack move closer.
They reached the first intermediate sprint, won by Bai, with a 35” lead, but were eventually caught a kilometre later. That’s precisely when the action really started between the top contenders of the race. Indeed, making the best of the crosswind a group of 11 ladies powered away, while poor Golden Jersey Kirsten Wild (HTP) was left stranded with a broken chain. At the front were the likes of Chloe Hosking (WHT) and Marta Tagliaferro (ALE), the best placed riders in the GC.
After having a 15” lead the front group was caught by 15 other ladies at km 60. Meanwhile Wild remained 2’30 adrift, losing almost all hopes of keeping her leadership. The leading 26 continued their progression. At the second bonus sprint (km 92) won by Shelley Olds (CPC) ahead of Hosking and Gracie Elvin (OGE), they had a 1’35 advantage over the first chasing group and 2’45 over the golden jersey pack. To make things even worst, Wild suffered a crash but still managed to remain in the main peloton.
Eventually at km 102, 10 riders took off at the front including Hosking, Longo Borghini (WHT), Pieters (WHT), Van Dijk, Kasper (DLT), Worrack, Cromwell, Guarischi (LPR), Elvin and Garfoot (OGE). Their lead reached 48” with 10kms to go and even 1’15, five kilometres from the line. Moving closer to the finish in Al Khor, four riders made a decisive move: Pieters, Kasper, Worrack and Garfoot. Not chased by their former group companions, working as perfect teammates, they would enjoy a 50” lead with 2 kilometers to go.
Just before the final kilometre, Katrin Garfoot managed the perfect attack and powered off. The Australian would never be caught and she victoriously crossed the finish line with a 13” gap over Worrack and Pieters. Meanwhile the Hosking group made it to the finish with a 58” deficit. Clinching her first ever success in Qatar, Garfoot captures the overall lead with an interesting 17” advantage over Worrack and 19” over Pieters. Wild remains the points classification leader and will tomorrow leave her golden jersey to wear the silver one. The new best young rider of the event is now Dutch rider Anouska Koster.