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ASO / B. Bade
After a very eventful day of riding north of Qatar, Amy Pieters captured the overall leadership of the Ladies Tour of Qatar. Part of a 21-rider group that broke away early in the stage, the Dutchwoman from team Giant-Shimano powered away in the last 10kms taking three other ladies with her. Pieters then went on to claim her first ever stage win in Qatar.
A strong wind was blowing across the peninsula when the 88 riders took off from the Al Zubara Fort for a 112.5kms to Madinat Al Shamal. As expected, the first kilometers proved to be very eventful due to the crosswind. The pack indeed broke up into several groups as soon as kilometer 5 and 21 ladies broke away. Among that front group were Golden Jersey, Wild (GIW) with three team mates, Hosking (HPU), Johansson (GIW), White Jersey, Hoskins (GIW), Worrack, Cromwell (both SLU), Slappendel (RBW), Bronzini, Becker (both WHT) and Zabelinskaya (RVL). The gap over a first group including Jeuland (FRA) and Gunewijk (GEW) reached 1” at km 12, while a second group including Silver Jersey holder Shelley Olds and Armistead (DLT) was of 1’25.
While the chasing groups gathered together at km 33, the gap carried on increasing. Indeed the front group would enjoy a 3’55 advantage at km 50. Once on the final circuit around Madinat Al Shamal, Kirsten Wild claimed the first intermediate sprint at the second crossing of the line (km 72) ahead of Hosking and D’Hoore (LBL). The front girls were then no longer concerned by the chasing pack as the gap reached 6’50 at km 77.
The second bonus sprint of the day at the fourth crossing of the line (km 99) was this time won by Hosking ahead of Wild and D’Hoore. Eventually, after quite a few attempts, four riders managed to break away at km 100: Pieters (GIW), Van Der Breggen (RBW), Becker (SLU) and Cilvinaite (RVL). Five kilometers later they had a 45” lead over the chasing 17. The gap remained the same with three kilometers to go.
The final sprint was finally claimed by Pieters beating Van Der Breggen and Becker to the line while the Golden Jersey group finished 27” adrift. The young Dutch lady clinches her first ever success in Qatar and conquers the overall lead from her team mate Kirsten Wild. In the new GC, Pieters has a 7” advantage over Wild and 18” over Hosking. Wild keeps command of the points’ classification while Pieters also leads the young rider standings.