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Feb 2, 2016 – Two years after last winning the Ladies’ Tour of Qatar, Kirsten Wild returned in the same triumphant fashion, by winning its 10th stage victory in this race. The Dutch rider indeed claimed stage 1 of the 2016 edition, going through the final circuit of the next UCI Road World Championships before heading to the Qatar University. In a final bunched sprint, the already four-time winner of the event beat Annalisa Cucinotta and Lizzie Williams to the line. The Hitec Products team leader naturally conquers the overall leader’s Golden Jersey.
Le Tour/Gallery Courtesy Kåre Dehlie Thorstad
Ideal conditions and almost no wind welcomed the 90 riders of the 8th edition for the start of stage 1 of the event at the Qatar University. The pack took off just after 1 o’clock for a 99-km ride.
After a fairly quiet start heading north, the real action started just before the first intermediate sprint of the day when teams Orica – AIS and Boels – Dolmans powered to the front of the bunch. Eventually the pack broke up into two groups leaving 46 riders in the lead. The sprint at km 39 was then to be claimed by Kirsten Wild (HPU) ahead of Chloe Hosking (WHT) and Marta Tagliaferro (ALE) while the dropped riders were 35” adrift. Five kilometers later, the pack bunched up together again.
The situation remained unchanged all the way to the circuit where the next UCI World Championships will be held in October. After covering the first two hours of racing at an average speed of 41 km/h, the second bonus sprint taking place on the exact finish line of the next ‘Worlds’ (km 90) was won by Chantal Blaak (DLT) beating Hosking and Marta Tagliaferro (ALE).
Well controlled by the strong sprinting teams, the pack stayed compact until the final explanation by the Qatar University. On a slightly uphill straight, Kirsten Wild again showed what a powerful rider she was, making her effort in the last 200m to outsprint Annalisa Cucinotta (ALE) and Lizzie Williams (OGE) and capture her 10th stage success in Qatar.
Thanks to her first win in 2016, Wild conquers the overall leader’s Golden Jersey with a 7” advantage over Cucinotta and 9” over Williams. The Dutch rider also leads the points’ classification while Arianna Fidanza (ITA) is the best young rider and will wear the Pearl White jersey for tomorrow’s stage 2 from the Sheikh Faysel Museum to the Al Khor Corniche.