Gilmore still in top ten after a hard second stage in Qatar
Gilmore retains top 10 overall, Kitchen rewarded with Best Young Rider jersey.
Hard work from the riders of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling, in the second stage of the Ladies’ Tour of Qatar, helped to limit the time gained by the twelve-rider breakaway, and kept team captain Rochelle Gilmore in the top ten overall. The 96km stage between the Camel Race Track and Al Khor Corniche, proved to be a tough one for as the Orica-AIS went on the offensive in the strong wind. It was won by Dutch powerhouse Kirsten Wild (Argos-Shimano), while Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products) held on to her overall lead.
“The wind today was horrendous,” explained Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling directeur sportif Simon Cope. “GreenEdge [Orica-AIS] just took control and put the race in the gutter and split it, and if you’ve got five riders on the front - and they left one on the gate - and they put everyone else in the gutter, only the strongest ones could stay there.
“If you look at those bike riders, they’re strong bike riders, and the rest got left behind.”
The 96km stage began straight into the teeth of very strong headwind but, unlike the previous day, Audrey Cordon (France), Jiang Xiu jie (China Chongming-Giant) and Malgorzata Jasinska (Cipollini-Giordana) attacked in the early kilometres and were allowed to get away. With no one else willing to help a chase, race leader Chloe Hosking’s Hitec Products team allowed the trio’s lead to grow to nine minutes.
The action started as soon as the peloton crossed the first intermediate sprint after 38.5km, however, as Orica-AIS suddenly accelerated in the crosswind and smashed the peloton to pieces. The Australian team pulled a nine-rider group away, which included five of its six riders, two from Specialized-lululemon, as well as Wild and Hosking. The group caught up with the three leaders just after the 60km point and, although it began to split in the closing kilometres, managed to hold off the chase from behind.
Having been caught behind the split as it happened, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling riders Rochelle Gilmore, Giorgia Bronzini and Lauren Kitchen joined several other teams in pursuit of what was now a twelve-rider group. Although they were not able to catch them before the finish, the chase managed to limit the gains of the leaders to just 1’30” by the finish.
Despite having worked hard in the chase, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Bronzini (pictured) won the sprint for 13th place.
“There was a group of twenty chasing, and they were chasing,” said Cope, “but the front group was doing 60kph and the second group was doing 60kph, and to close that gap you needed to do 65-70.”
Gilmore slipped two places in the general classification, but still holds onto a place in the top ten in ninth place, 1’50” behind compatriot Hosking, while Kitchen rises three places to 11th, 1’52” back. The 22-year-old Australian is now second in the young riders’ competition, and will wear the white jersey in tomorrow’s third stage while competition leader Hosking wears the gold one.
“Not a bad result again, I’m pretty happy that we made that second group with three riders, so fingers crossed we’ll get something by the end of the week,” Cope added. “There’s a lot more to come out of this team.
“I wouldn’t say today was brilliant, but it wasn’t poor either,” he concluded.
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