Kirsten Wild of the Netherlands celebrates winning the third stage of Ladies Tour of Qatar in Al Khor yesterday. Kirsten reclaimed the golden jersey.
PICTURES: SALIM MATRAMKOT
BY RIZWAN REHMAT
DOHA: Dutch rider Kirsten Wild yesterday regained control of the Ladies Tour of Qatar by winning the third stage and reclaiming the golden jersey she lost to compatriot Amy Pieters on Wednesday.
Wild, a three-time winner in Doha, won stage three ahead of Elizabeth Armitstead of Britain and Chloe Hosking of Australia after the riders completed a distance of 93.5kms.
The Giant-Shimano rider won the stage in a time of 2 hours and 27:34 seconds. It was Wild’s second stage win out of three and eighth in Doha overall.
Shelley Olds of the US was timed fourth whereas Emma Johansson of Sweden was fifth fastest as riders crossed the finish line in windy Al Khor Corniche.
Wild’s victory was enough to lift her above team-mate Pieters.
“I’m really happy but I also feel a bit sorry for Amy because she won well yesterday and now I’ve taken the jersey back,” Wild said after her stage win.
“But the good thing is that we keep it in the team,” Wild explained. “That was the goal – to keep the jersey in the team, with me or with Amy,” the 31-year-old added.
Wild (7 hours 30:53 seconds) has a nine-second lead over Pieters in the general classification. Hosking, the Hitect Products rider, is 21 seconds adrift of Wild.
Johansson is also in the top-five, just 35 seconds behind Wild. Germany’s Trixi Worrack is trailing Wild by 47 seconds.
Pieters said she wasn’t too sad about not retaining the golden jersey she picked up after stage two.
“The gold jersey has passed to my team-mate and I’m still in the white jersey, so I think we can be really happy,” Pieters told reporters.
“Tomorrow, I hope we can win the stage again, and if we do, we will hold onto the jersey too,” the 22-year-old Dutch rider added.
After losing the overall leadership yesterday, Wild restored order with a sublime finish at Al Khor Corniche.
The three-time winner of the Ladies Tour of Qatar showed how impressive she was by capturing her eighth stage win in Qatar.
With one day to go, Wild is on pole to conquer a fourth crown.
Yesterday, the Katara Cultural Village welcomed the 85 remaining riders of the Ladies Tour of Qatar for the start of stage three heading to Al Khor Corniche (some 98kms away).
Despite quite a few attempts in the opening moments of the race, the Qatar pack remained bunched all the way until the 38-km mark.
As the race favourites and top teams took command of the bunch and speed went up, the pack broke up into several groups.
Thirty seven riders gathered together at the front. The first intermediate sprint (at Tenbek, 40.5-km mark) was claimed by Wild ahead of team-mate Maaike Polspoels and Johansson.
The pack bunched up together again at the 57-km mark when France’s Aude Biannic decided to try her luck at the front. After enjoying a 25-second lead at the 58-km mark, she was eventually caught two kilometres later.
With 25 kilometres to go, the pace went up again and only 14 ladies managed to take off, including Wild, Pieters, Hosking, Armitstead and Johansson.
The second bonus sprint (at Al Thakhira, 85-km mark) was again captured by Wild ahead of Hosking and Johansson, earning her three extra bonus seconds that would virtually put her just a second behind her team-mate and race overall leader Pieters.
Meanwhile, the gap over the first chasing groups grew rapidly and the front riders remained together all the way to the city of Al Khor.
Despite last minute attempts from the Orica-AIS girls, final decision was to be made in a bunched sprint.
Like on the opening day of the Tour, Wild flew to a second stage success this year, her eighth so far in Qatar. The Dutch sprinter beat Armitstead and Hosking to the line.
With one day to go and a last stage on the Doha Corniche, a fourth crown is up for grabs for the Giant-Shimano leader.
Wild also leads the points classification while Pieters remains the ‘best young rider’.