Chloe Hosking (Wiggle-High5) is something of a rarity in the women’s peloton: a rider with no intention of trying to earn selection for the 2016 Olympic Games, though it’s certainly not for a want of ambition.
With the course for the Rio Games road race a particularly demanding one – Tiffany Cromwell has described the Vista Chinesa climb to “Mur de Huy times four” – Hosking had no hesitation in switching her focus to another prestigious race rather more tailored to her talents, the World Championships road race in Doha at the end of the season.
“For sure that’s my big goal. I’m not going for the Olympics, so really from now I’m switching my head to the world championships in October,” Hosking said after winning the final stage of the Ladies Tour of Qatar ahead of Kirsten Wild (Hitec Product) on Doha’s Corniche on Friday. An omen of things to come, perhaps?
In any case, Hosking will be among the few Worlds contenders who won’t have been building towards a peak in August. Even Wild, for instance, will be in Brazil on the track, and by the time October comes around, that relative freshness could stand Hosking in good stead.
“That’s definitely something my coach and I have thought about,” she said. “The reality is that I’m not going to be winning gold in Rio but I could be winning gold in Qatar, so I’m going to focus on that.”
Hosking’s fine sprint win on Friday helped to put a different complexion on what had been a disappointing Ladies Tour of Qatar for her Wiggle-High5 team. A team including Amy Pieters, Elisa Longo Borghini and Emma Johansson would have expected to have a representative in the decisive split on stage 3, for instance, but they made some amends by setting up Hosking for the win on the final day.
“We came here with a pretty stellar team and I don’t think our results really reflected the team we had here until today,” Hosking said. “When we came in for sure we wanted to prove a point and we did that. I’m really, really happy.
“The girls worked so hard to deliver me in the perfect position with 300 metres to go so it’s really nice that they put that faith in me even though I screwed up the first stage and I missed the move yesterday.”
For Hosking, the victory was her first since the Classic Morbihan in Brittany last May. A hand injury in July ended her 2015 season prematurely, and even after showing tangible signs of form in Australia in January, and again here earlier in the week, standing atop the podium as the sun began to dip behind the Doha skyline was a welcome confirmation.
“It is really important because I’ve actually been out of it for seven months. I raced in Australia but it’s just not the same as racing with girls at this level,” Hosking said. “Coming back from injury I wasn’t sure where I’d be at, so it’s a big relief to get a win here so early in the season.”