By Gregor Brown in Al Shahaniyah, Qatar
Kirsten Wild of Cervélo TestTeam took the lead in the Tour of Qatar thanks to some calculated sprints on Monday's stage to Al Shahaniyah. The bonus seconds gathered at the two intermediate sprints gave her the advantage over previous leader Giorgia Bronzini.
There is one day left in the first professional women's race ever held in the Middle East. The third stage covers 109 kilometres from Al Shahaniyah to Al Khor. Wild believes she has the experience to keep the golden jersey.
"I have been a professional for five years. I won the Tour of Poland before , I have the experience and a strong team," Wild told Cyclingnews. She also explained that local professional for Farm Frites and Olympic champion Leontien van Moorsel has influenced her career.
"I saw cycling on television and I thought it looked like a nice sport. My brother was mountain biker and so I wanted to try," she added.
Dutchwoman Wild leads Bronzini by five seconds and Kirsty Broun by 12 seconds. The final race classification could be completely different because of the bonus seconds awarded on Tuesday's two intermediate sprints and finish.
Wild raced with AA Drink Cycling Team last season, claiming one-day victories in Omloop Het Volk, Omloop van Borsele and Therme Kasseienomloop. She also finished second overall in the RaboSter Zeeuwsche Eilanden and Holland Ladies' Tour.
Wild's win is additional success for the Cervélo squad, with the men's team also taking a stage in Qatar. Roger Hammond won the second stage last week, whilst Heinrich Haussler was awarded the best young rider at race's end.