Ladies Tour of Qatar 2013
Stage 4 - Wild unstoppable
Sealine Beach Resort - Doha Corniche, 86.5km
Kirsten Wild (Argos-Shimano) won the bunch kick to secure another win and the overall title for the third time. Lucinda Brand (Rabobank Liv/Giant ) was second ahead of Marta Tagliaferro (MCipollini Giordana).
The much anticipated final stage started fast. With everything resting on the final intermediate sprint bonuses and final sprint all attacks in the first 8km were covered. With 5 laps of an out-and-back circuit along Doha's Corniche (waterfront) it meant that the bunch had to fight to stay together. When the right hand turn at12 km changed the wind direction to a sidewind. Hitec tried to break things up but could not create an opening. After 21km the peloton was all together.
Argos-Shimano, MCipolini, Hitec and Orica-AIS were all on the front. After the disappointment of the disqualification of Rochelle Gilmore, Wiggle Honda were also towards the front with Tibco.
Chloe Hosking (Hitec) and leader Kirsten Wild (Argos-Shimano) rode in each others shadow as the pace increased and riders chased hard to keep the race together. As the first sprint approached the teams started to line up for their sprinters. True to form, first over the line was Wild, followed by Hosking and Ellen Van Dijk (Specialiazed Lululemon).
Wild had started to get a hold on the overall, she leads on general classicifaction 3 seconds ahead of Hosking. Almost immediately the attacked started. A lead group of ten riders formed that included; Jasmin Glasser and Shelly Olds (Tibco), Jessie McClean (Orica-AIS), Loren Rowney and Carmen Small (Specialized Lululemon) Tatiana Guderzo (MCipolini), Lucinda Brand (Rabobank Liv/Giant) Elisa Longo-Borghini (Hitec), Silvia Valsecchi (Be Pink) and Audrey Cordon (France) were away at 50km with a gap 1 minute 25 seconds. A small crash in peloton disrupted the chase but the peloton reformed and started to bring the gap down. With 30km to go the gap was down to 1 minute.
Cordon and Valsecch were working hard on the front to ensure the break could stay away. Behind them the gap was coming down. A number of teams were on the front either marshalling the group or trying to close the gap. With 28 km to go the gap was 55 seconds. The chase was strung out along the Cornich water front.
Rowney was pushing the group to work hard to stay away. With 24km to go the gap was 45 seconds. At the next sprint, Glasser took bonus seconds and points.
With the gap reducing the leaders tried to pick up the pace. Wiggle Honda, Orica-AIS and Argo-Shimano were all on the front to close the gap. With 20km to go the gap was 16 seconds. The gap was holding at 16 seconds.
Wiggle Honda and Orica-AIS worked hard to bring the race back together, with 10km to go, the gap was still holding. Cordon and Rowney were doing most of the pace making a the front of the race.
With 15km to go however the gap was down to 12 seconds. Cordon attacked the leaders and was chased by Small. The attacks split up the lead group. With the peloton about to catch the leaders. Cordon tried to attack again but was swept up by the peloton. One lone leader Lucinda Brand (Rabobank Liv/Giant) was chased by the bunch. At the front of the peloton constant attacks started to break it up. Argos-Shimano took control to stop the attacks and set up the last 8km for Wild. The race was all together with 5km to go.
The pace was high, Charlotte Becker and Janieka Kanis (Argos-Shimano) were setting the pace on the front. Loren Rowney (Specialized Lululemon) attacked and managed to get a small gap. Again the teams of Orica-AIS and Argos-Shimano closed the gap. Hosking was sitting on the wheel of Wild throughtout the final lap., Longo-Borghini tried to get away with 3km to go.
In the end Wild was too strong and secured her 3rd stage win and her 3rd Tour of Qatar win.
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