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Van Dijk Leads Women’s Tour of Qatar, Canada’s Kirchmann 31st – Stage 1, 2 Report, Results, Photos

release by ASO

February 04, 2015 (Qatar) – Stage 1 of the 2015 Ladies Tour of Qatar was decided in a final bunched sprint by the beach in Dukhan. Helped out by her Ale Cipollini teammates, Annalisa Cucinotta powered to her first ever success in Qatar. The Italian beat two of her compatriots to the line, Giorgia Bronzini (WHT) and Marta Tagliaferro (ALE), on her way to taking the race lead.

Annalisa Cucinotta (Ita) Ale Cipollini [P]Cor Vos

Ideal conditions and almost no wind, a rarity in Qatar, welcomed the 87 riders at the start of the stage, just beside the splendid Museum of Islamic Art in the centre of Doha. While Canada’s Annie Ewart (OPW) failed to start due to illness, the pack took off just before 2:00, heading west.

Without the slightest breakaway attempt, the pack remained bunched all the way to the first intermediate sprint (km 28) won by Olds (BCT) ahead of Hosking (WHT) and Armitstead (DLT). At km 37.5, Xiu Jie Jiang (GPC) was the first to try her luck on her own. Her avantage went from 45” at km 42 to a maximum 1’20 at km 61 while the pack was hit by several crashes, one even forcing USA’s Maura Kinsella (OPW) to retire.

Stage leader Jiang went on to make it to the second bonus sprint (km 68.5) clear from the pack, before eventually being caught. Meanwhile Olds had again outsprinted her peloton rivals, beating Armitstead for precious extra seconds that could count a great deal in the GC.

The bunched up pack stayed that way until the final moments of the race. On the last straight by the beach in Dukhan, Annalisa Cucinotta was perfectly led out by her team mates and claimed her first stage win in Qatar. Present in the peninsula to prepare for the track World Championships in France, the Italian starts her road season in style with a first win at her first race of the year. Despite being caught in a crash earlier on, there was no stoping Cucinotta who beat two-time World Champion Giorgia Bronzini and her team mate Marta Tagliaferro.

As well as the overall leader’s Golden Jersey that she conquered, and will wear tomorrow for stage 2, the Italian takes command of the points classification (Silver Jersey) while another Ale Cipollini rider, Arianna Fidanza claims the White Pearl Jersey for the best Young rider.

Stage 2
It was expected to be one of the most spectacular stages of the Ladies’ Tour of Qatar and stage 2 was indeed at the height of expectations. As soon as the opening kilometres, the favourites of the event made the best of the wind to power off. Part of the first group of 16 riders that dropped down to 6 members in the final moments, Elen Van Dijk claimed her second stage win in the peninsula after surging in the last kilometre. The Dutch rider also conquers the Golden Jersey that she had won back in 2011.

Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team [P]Cor Vos

A traditional venue ever since the ladies first started competing in Qatar, the Al Zubara Fort, situated on the north-western coast, welcomed the start of the second stage of the Tour. A spectacular site for what promised to be an eventful day, especially with the wind picking up in the early hours of the afternoon. The 85 remaining riders took off at 1:40 for the longest stage of the event : 112.5kms heading north to Madinat Al Shamal.

As soon as kilometre 7, the pack, under the influence of the cross wind, broke up into several groups. While the Golden Jersey, Annalisa Cucinotta (ALE), failed to keep up with the pace and was dropped, a group of 16 riders pulled away. Among the front group were the likes of Amy Pieters (TLP) winner in Madinat last year, Hosking (WHT), Johansson (GWT), Amitstead, Van Dijk (both DLT), Brand (RBW) and Worrack (VEL). Their advantage rapidly reached 50” at km 12 and continued increasing.

After a first loop around Madinat Al Shamal, the front group crossed the finish line for the first time with a 2’55 lead. Four laps of a small circuit remained to be covered. The leaders would no longer be worried about the chasing bunches as they made it to the first intermediate sprint (km 72) with a 3’55 advantage. That sprint was claimed by Hosking ahead of Tagliaferro (ALE) and Johansson. Another decisive move occurred after 79 kilometres. Indeed six ladies pushed harder and pulled away: Hosking, Longo Borghini (both WHT), Johansson (GEW), Armitstead, Van Dijk (both DLT) and Worrack (VEL). At the third crossing of the line, the 6 escapees could enjoy a 26” lead.

The second bonus sprint (4th crossing, km 99) was the scene of another intense battle: Armitstead eventually conquering 3 precious seconds ahead of Johansson and Hosking, while the cloeset group remained 1’35 adrift. In the final 13.4-km lap, despite an early solo attempt from Van Dijk, the leaders stayed bunched.

Counting on the presence of her team mate Armitstead, Elen Van Dijk gave it another go just after the final kilometre mark. Making the best of her impressive power, the Dutch rider would never be caught and made it victoriously to the line. She claims her second ever stage success in Qatar with a 3” advantage over Worrack and Armitstead. Winner of the Tour of Qatar back in 2011, Van Dijk captures the overall leader’s Golden Jersey with a slim 4” lead over Armitstead. The silver jersey also switches shoulders and goes to Trixi Worrack while Italian Beatrice Bartelloni claims the Pearl White jersey for the best young rider.

Results

Stage 1
1.     Annalisa Cucinotta (Ita) Ale Cipollini     2:28:36
2.     Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda
3.     Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) Ale Cipollini
4.     Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team
5.     Shelley Olds – Evans (USA) Bigla Pro Cycling Team
6.     Trixi Worrack (Ger) Velocio-SRAM
7.     Arianna Fidanza (Ita) Ale Cipollini
8.     Jolien D’hoore (Bel) Wiggle Honda
9.     Kelly Druyts (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Pro-Duo
10.     Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Velocio-SRAM

18.     Leah Kirchmann (Can) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
83.     Joëlle Numainville (Can) Bigla Pro Cycling Team
DNS     Annie Ewart (Can) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies

Stage 2
1.     Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team     2:39:21
2.     Trixi Worrack (Ger) Velocio-SRAM     0:03
3.     Elisabeth Armitstead (Gbr) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team
4.     Chloe Hosking (Aus) Wiggle Honda
5.     Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica – AIS
6.     Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Wiggle Honda     0:09
7.     Jolien D’hoore (Bel) Wiggle Honda     1:57
8.     Valentina Scandolara (Ita) Orica – AIS
9.     Amy Pieters (Ned) Team Liv-Plantur
10.     Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Velocio-SRAM

48.     Leah Kirchmann (Can) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
60.     Joëlle Numainville (Can) Bigla Pro Cycling Team

GC after Stage 2
1.     Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team     5:07:47
2.     Elisabeth Armitstead (Gbr) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team     0:04
3.     Trixi Worrack (Ger) Velocio-SRAM     0:07
4.     Chloe Hosking (Aus) Wiggle Honda
5.     Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica – AIS     0:10
6.     Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Wiggle Honda     0:27
7.     Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) Ale Cipollini     2:01
8.     Jolien D’hoore (Bel) Wiggle Honda     2:07
9.     Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Velocio-SRAM
10.     Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica – AIS

31.     Leah Kirchmann (Can) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 11:19
62.     Joëlle Numainville (Can) Bigla Pro Cycling Team 11:27





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