By Gregor Brown in Al Shahaniyah, Qatar
Rochelle Gilmore took what she came for in the Ladies' Tour of Qatar: a top three finish. The 28-year-old of Team Lotto Belisol won the bunch sprint behind the escape duo in Monday's stage to Al Shahaniyah.
"I was happy to beat the fastest sprinters in the bunch and to win a big bunch sprint in a race like this is encouraging," said Gilmore to Cyclingnews.
Gilmore thought she had won the day since she did not know about the winning duo of Veronica Andreasson and eventual stage winner Eva Lutz. With one stage left to race in the Tour of Qatar, February 8 to 10, Gilmore keeps focused on the season's goals.
"This year, I would like to have a couple of good World Cups, focus on Bern [Berner Rundfahrt, May 10 - ed.] and Nürnberg [Rund um die Nürnberger Altstadt, September 13 - ed.] at the end of the season. Then, some stages at the Giro d'Italia and a strong performance in the Montréal and PEI Tours [both in June - ed.]"
Gilmore won three stages of the Tour de PEI in 2008. She also had several key second place results throughout the season.
The Ladies' Tour of Qatar finishes Tuesday with the third and final stage. Gilmore and the other 83 riders will cover 109 kilometres from Al Shahaniyah to Al Khor.