DOHA, February 06, 2016 – Australian rider Chloe Hosking yesterday clinched the fourth and final stage of the Ladies Tour of Qatar but overnight golden jersey owner Trixi Worrack of Germany produced another consistent round to win the title of the ‘Desert Queen’ for the first time.
Hosking, riding for Wiggle-High5, produced a well-timed surge in the final bunch sprint at the city’s main sea-front tourist attraction at Doha Corniche.
The stockily-built Australian clocked a time of 1 hour 46 minutes and 09 seconds to win the 73-km stage that started in bright and sunny conditions at Aspire Park.
Four-time champion Kirsten Wild of the Netherlands (Hitec Products) finished in second spot for the second successive day while compatriot Monique Van De Ree (Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam) ended stage four in third spot.
Anouska Koster (white jersey) also of the Netherlands and Shelley Olds of the US completed the top-5 in the final stage of the four-day event.
Worrack, riding for Canyon SRAM Racing, finished in 15th spot to finish her Qatar trip with an overall time of 10:01:37. Compatriot Romy Kasper (Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam) was second with a 17-second difference against Worrack.
Stage three-winner Eleonora Van Dijk of the Netherlands (Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam) finished third in the overall general classification. Van Dijk was 28 seconds behind Worrack.
Wild clinched the silver jersey for her top tally of 43 points from the four days of action across Qatar. Hosking finished in second place with 27 points. Third-placed Van Dijk managed a tally of 25 points.
Worrack (18) and Koster (18) completed the top five riders in the points classification.
“Yeah, we are really happy about it,” Worrack said after picking up her golden jersey. “It was so much of hardwork. Yesterday (Thursday) was the hardest day, I think. We could keep the yellow jersey today so I am happy about it,” the German said.
“It was a great team effort. We are really happy. We managed to pull off a great team performance,” Worrack said.
“Some things changed in every stage. It made for interesting riding. Nobody knew who would emerge on top,” Worrack said.
“So it is even a bigger victory since it was so tough,” Worrack said.
“No, we did not expect to win because it is the first race of the season,” Worrack said.
“Yes, I am surprised that we did so well. The first two days were so tough. We look from race to race. We go back to Europe. There were will be a three-week break and then we start the spring classics,” Worrack said. Will the fans see her back in Doha next year?
“Yeah, for sure,” Worrack said with a smile. “We will try to win the title again,” she said.
Hosking said it was interesting to check out the 2016 World Road Cycling Championships route on the first day of the event.
“To ride the course on the first day was very different to what I had expected,” Hosking said.
“The wind will play a good part (in the world championships),” the Australian said.
“I think it will be an exciting world championships. It could go either way. It could be bunched sprint or a small bunch or a solo ride. You really do not know so I am little nervous,” Hosking said with a smile.
“That’s my big goal for the last couple of years. I do want to come here and win,” Hosking said. “I have to stay focused, I have to work hard and come back strong in the best possible form,” Hosking said.
The 80-rider pack took off just after 2pm for the 73-km stage, starting in the impressive Aspire Zone, and heading towards the picturesque Doha Corniche.
After a rather quiet start all the way to the 6km Doha Corniche circuit, the pace went up on the lap before the first intermediate sprint.
At the 27-km mark, fourth passage on the line, Van Dijk claimed the sprint ahead of Koster and Chantal Blaak.
Thanks to her second spot and two bonus seconds, Koster virtually caught up with Lauretta Hanson in the lead of the best young rider standings.
After several breakaway attempts, Coryn Rivera managed to pull away from the pack at the 36-km mark.
The American saw her lead reach 22 seconds with five laps to go, while Anna Trevisi, followed by Yixian Pu took off on a counter-attack.
The second bonus sprint was claimed by Rivera with a 30-second advantage over Trevisi and Pu and 1’20 over the pack.
With two laps to go, the gaps had dropped down to 20’’ on the first chasers and 48’’ on the bunch. While Trevisi and Pu were caught at the 62-km mark, Rivera managed to hang on until the 67th kilometre before being gobbled up by the hungry pack.
Led by teams Hitec Products and Wiggle HighFive, the main field remained bunched until the final sprint. On the last straight, Hosking powered to glory, capturing her first stage success this year, beating Wild and Monique Van Der Ree to the line.