By Gregor Brown in Al Khor, Qatar
Kirsten Wild of Cervélo TestTeam claimed her first win of the season on Tuesday via smart calculations over the three days of racing in the Ladies' Tour of Qatar. She takes home to The Netherlands the gold leader's jersey thanks to a four-second margin over Italy's Giorgia Bronzini.
"We had the gold calculator in the car behind and we were calculating seconds the whole race. The team had good control, and that was really important," she said to Cyclingnews after the third and final stage in Al Khor.
Wild claimed the overall lead on day two thanks to winning both of the intermediate sprints for bonus seconds. She did not figure in the top three (and bonus seconds) at the finish in Al Shahaniyah, but she controlled the race by five seconds over Bronzini.
Wild delivered more of the same on Tuesday: she won both sprints and took third in the final sprint. Though Bronzini won the stage (and the 10 bonus seconds), Wild kept the jersey by four seconds.
"There was some chaos mid-race, but the team controlled it perfectly. My legs felt good, but you never know. ... I was also calculating in the final kilometre, I thought 'Oh sh*t if they go clear I will lose this!'"
The Tour of Qatar is the first professional women's race organised in the Middle East. It follows on the success of the men's stage race, this year in its eighth year and won by Tom Boonen of Team Quick Step.
"I think it is a well organised race. I like the race, no cars or traffic islands. It is like a Dutch race, but there are not a lot of traffic obstacles."