Mechanical problem forced Australian out of decisive breakaway
Although Chloe Hosking was delighted by her teammate Ellen Van Dijk's overall win and HTC-Highroad's victory in the team classification at the Ladies Tour of Qatar, she deserved a prize as the most unfortunate rider of the race.
The Australian was part of the race-deciding breakaway on stage two, and looked set to take possession of the golden jersey when a mechanical problem wrecked her chances.
"It was super frustrating at the time because I was yellow on the road," Hosking told Cyclingnews. "But it turned out best for the team because Ellen's in yellow, she's in the points jersey and the young rider's jersey."
Hosking was part of an eight-rider echelon that formed on the front of the bunch in the crosswinds that shaped stage two. She was driving the break with her HTC-Highroad teammates Van Dijk, Adriana Visser and Charlotte Becker when a seemingly banal incident compromised her race.
"You're riding in the crosswinds, everyone's overlapping wheels and we just got grabbed by a gust of wind and the front wheel went into the girl in front me's foot and after that it was rubbing on my front brake," Hosking explained. "When you're riding in a group of eight of the best girls in the world with a brake rubbing against your wheel, it doesn't go down too well."
HTC-Highroad's show of strength on stage two ultimately decided the overall standings in Qatar. Hosking revealed that a move was premeditated, although its exact nature and timing were more circumstantial.
"We knew it was going to be really windy so we wanted to give it a good go but I didn't think it was going to be that early," she said. "I thought it was going to be after the first sprint, so it was a bit of a surprise to me, but we knew we were going to do something."
Hosking's fellow countrywoman Rochelle Gilmore (Lotto-Honda) credited her victory on stage one to the form she built up from racing extensively during the Australian summer. Hosking has also benefited from a spell of racing in the sun, although she does not have quite as many days of racing in her legs as some of her compatriots.
"I didn't race as much as others did like Rochelle Gilmore," she said. "I've had a bit of slow start; I think I've only had six or seven races, which is more than the Europeans, but still less than some of the other Australians."
Now in her second season at HTC-Highroad, Hosking is looking to build on the progress she has made in the past year.
"I want to do well in Europe obviously, as everyone does, and maybe get a few rides in the bigger World Cup races with the team," she said. "Then I'll really look towards preparing for the world championships and representing Australia there."
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