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Van Dijk wins stage two and takes the overall lead

The Ladies Tour of Qatar was turned on its head on stage two as an ominous show of strength by the HTC-Highroad team gave Ellen Van Dijk stage victory and the overall lead. Van Dijk outlasted Australian champion Alexis Rhodes (Garmin-Cervélo) in a thrilling sprint finish in Lusail, after a breakaway of almost 70km that contained three riders each from HTC-Highroad and Garmin-Cervélo, as well as Dutch champion Loes Guinnewijk (Nederland Bloeit).

At the finish, the leaders had a two-minute margin over a main group containing golden jersey Rochelle Gilmore (Lotto-Honda), World Champion Giorgia Bronzini and Nicole Cook (MCipollini-Giordana). Van Dijk now leads her teammate Charlotte Becker by 15 seconds on the overall classification.

The pair united with their HTC-Columbia teammates Chloe Hoskings and Adrian Visser to take full advantage of the high winds and exposed roads that marked the stage to spark a decisive echelon after 36km. They were soon joined by Guinnewijk and Garmin-Cervélo's Rhodes, Trine Schmidt and Iris Slappendel, and although Hoskings was forced out of the breakaway soon afterwards with mechanical trouble, the remaining HTC-Columbia riders expertly controlled the finale for Van Dijk.

"The girls helped me in the intermediate sprints to take seconds and then in the finale they were perfect, they kept the group together for me so I could sprint," Van Dijk said afterwards.

The Dutchwoman also explained that the windy conditions were ideally suited to her talents and that after a conservative first stage, she and her teammates were keen to split the field.

"Yesterday we couldn't really do anything because there wasn't too much wind," she said. "I was really happy this morning to see that there was this much wind and I knew that we could make the difference today."

A slow start

After leaving from the splendour of the Islamic Museum of Art, the peloton snaked its way out of Doha and into the barren flatlands north of the capital. In the opening section of the stage, the bunch raced square into a block headwind and the pace was accordingly sedate, with just 26.6km covered in the first hour of racing.

Against the stiff wind, which intermittently shifted sands into the eyes of the peloton, understandably few riders were keen to escape early on, but the aggressive Valentina Bastianelli (Vaiano Solaritech) was an exception. The Italian made a brave solo move 14km into the stage, following on the back of her attempted escape on stage one.

Bastianelli built up a maximum lead of a minute, but riding against the breeze, on a deceptively false flat and on a long, straight road that appeared to stretch on for eternity, hers was a thankless task and she was swallowed up a little over 10km later as the Dutch team wound up the pace behind.

The turning point of the stage was to come soon afterward. In the run-in to the first intermediate sprint, a slight change in wind direction allied to a crash in the bunch wreaked havoc on the race, and HTC-Highroad and Garmin-Cervélo were quick to seize the initiative. Nicole Cooke was among the riders who made the initial selection, but under increased impetus from the HTC-Highroad quartet of Hoskings, Becker, Visser and Van Dijk, she was sent back to a chaotic second group.

When the dust settled, the HTC riders were left at the front with Garmin-Cervélo's Rhodes, Schmidt and Slappendel, as well as Loes Guinnewijk, and they immediately found a common cause and worked fluidly together.

By the first sprint, taken by Van Dijk ahead of Visser and Slappendel, they already had 45 seconds over a 30-rider group that contained the golden jersey of Rochelle Gilmore. Even after Chloe Hoskings was forced out of the break with mechanical trouble, their lead continued to grow and would do so all the way to the finishing circuit at Lusail.

At the second sprint, HTC-Highroad swept up all of the bonus seconds, with Van Dijk leading Visser and Becker over the line, and the momentum was increasingly with the seven up front. Entering the first of two laps of the Lusail circuit, their lead was at two minutes, and that increased to 2:55 by the time they came around for the bell with 11km to go.

Behind, it was the MCipollini-Giordana team of Nicole Cooke and Monia Baccaille that took up the burden of chasing down the leaders, and they would succeed in trimming the margin to 2:02 at the finish line, but it was too little too late, and the final overall victory now appears destined to go to one of the day's escapees.

At the head of the race, Trine Schmidt attempted to jump clear 5km from the line, but she was tightly marked by HTC-Columbia's Adriana Visser, and in the closing kilometres both Garmin and HTC focused on setting up the race for their fastest finishers.

In the finishing straight, Van Dijk opted to open her sprint from distance and in spite of Alexis Rhodes' rally in the final 100 metres, the Dutchwoman had enough left in the legs to take the stage and the lead in all of the classifications. Ahead of tomorrow's final stage, she has 15 seconds over her teammate Becker, while Garmin-Cervélo's Slappendel is six seconds further behind in third.

However, with just 16 seconds of bonuses up for grabs on the final stage to the Doha Corniche, the race is very much in HTC-Highroad's hands.

Full results
1Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) HTC Highroad Women3:06:51
2Alexis Rhodes (Aus) Garmin - Cervelo
3Adrie Visser (Ned) HTC Highroad Women
4Charlotte Becker (Ger) HTC Highroad Women
5Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) Nederland Bloeit
6Iris Slappendel (Ned) Garmin - Cervelo
7Trine Schmidt (Den) Garmin - Cervelo
8Alison Starnes (USA) United States of America0:01:45
9Noemi Cantele (Ita) Garmin - Cervelo0:02:02
10Valentina Scandolara (Ita) Gauss
11Rasa Leleivyte (Ltu) Vaiano Solaristech
12Martine Bras (Ned) Netherlands
13Rochelle Gilmore (Aus) Lotto Honda Team
14Sophie Creux (Fra) France
15Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Italy
16Janneke Kanis (Ned) Nederland Bloeit
17Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) SC Mcipollini Giordana
18Aude Biannic (Fra) France
19Roxanne Knetemann (Ned) Skil-Koga Cycling Team
20Aurore Verhoeven (Fra) Gauss
21Kirsty Broun (Aus) Australia
22Emilia Fahlin (Swe) HTC Highroad Women
23Shi Li Na (Chn) China Chongming - Giant Pro Cycling
24Chloe Hosking (Aus) HTC Highroad Women
25Meng Lang (Chn) China Chongming - Giant Pro Cycling
26Elke Gebhardt (Ger) Germany
27Marieke Van Wanroij (Ned) Nederland Bloeit
28Madeleine Sandig (Ger) Germany
29Alessandra Borchi (Ita) Gauss
30Marta Bastianelli (Ita) SC Mcipollini Giordana
31Gloria Presti (Ita) Italy
32Sarah Düster (Ger) Nederland Bloeit
33Emma Mackie (Aus) Australia
34Elena Cecchini (Ita) Italy
35Eleonora Patuzzo (Ita) Italy
36Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Gauss
37Amanda Spratt (Aus) Australia0:02:07
38Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Australia
39Nicole Cooke (GBr) SC Mcipollini Giordana0:02:09
40Monia Baccaille (Ita) SC Mcipollini Giordana0:02:11
41Suzanne de Goede (Ned) Skil-Koga Cycling Team
42Carlee Taylor (Aus) Australia
43Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Lotto Honda Team
44Romy Kasper (Ger) Germany
45Veronica Andreasson (Swe) Lotto Honda Team
46Ludivine Henrion (Bel) Lotto Honda Team
47Christina Becker (Ger) Skil-Koga Cycling Team
48Lorena Foresi (Ita) Gauss
49Amy Pieters (Ned) Skil-Koga Cycling Team0:04:42
50Eleonora Spaliviero (Ita) Vaiano Solaristech
51Shanne Braspennincx (Ned) Netherlands0:09:21
52Luo Xiaoling (Chn) China Chongming - Giant Pro Cycling
53Evelyn Stevens (USA) HTC Highroad Women
54Fanny Riberot (Fra) France
55Kim Schoonbaert (Bel) Lotto Honda Team
56Jessie Daams (Bel) Garmin - Cervelo
57Kendall Ryan (USA) United States of America
58Katarzyna Sosna (Ltu) Vaiano Solaristech
59Laure Werner (Bel) Lotto Honda Team
60Zhao Na (Chn) China Chongming - Giant Pro Cycling
61Alison Testroete (Can) Skil-Koga Cycling Team
62Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Germany
63Patricia Schwager (Swi) Nederland Bloeit
64Annalisa Cucinotta (Ita) Italy
65Rossella Callovi (Ita) SC Mcipollini Giordana
66Fiona Dutriaux (Fra) France
67Simona Martini (Ita) Vaiano Solaristech
68Lucy Martin (GBr) Garmin - Cervelo
69Pascale Jeuland (Fra) France
70Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Netherlands
71Jacquelyn Crowell (USA) United States of America
72Ruth Corset (Aus) Australia
73Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Italy
74Carmen Small (USA) United States of America
75Emilie Blanquefort (Fra) France0:16:34
76Verena Jooss (Ger) Germany
77Hannah Welter (Ned) Skil-Koga Cycling Team
78Luisa Tamanini (Ita) Gauss
79Valentina Bastianelli (Ita) Vaiano Solaristech
80Annelies Visser (Ned) Netherlands0:16:43
81Wong Wan Yin Jamie (Chn) China Chongming - Giant Pro Cycling0:17:59
82Huang Li (Chn) China Chongming - Giant Pro Cycling
83Emma Trott (GBr) Nederland Bloeit0:18:40
84Laura Fouquet (Ger) Germany
85Melanie Woering (Ned) Netherlands
86Megan Guarnier (USA) United States of America
87Coryn Rivera (USA) United States of America
88Henriette Woering (Ned) Netherlands

Sprint 1 - Sub Station, 39km
1Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) HTC Highroad Women3pts
2Adrie Visser (Ned) HTC Highroad Women2
3Iris Slappendel (Ned) Garmin - Cervelo1

Sprint 2 - Al Jemailiya, 54km
1Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) HTC Highroad Women3pts
2Adrie Visser (Ned) HTC Highroad Women2
3Iris Slappendel (Ned) Garmin - Cervelo1

Sprint 3 - Dukhan, 94.5km
1Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) HTC Highroad Women15pts
2Alexis Rhodes (Aus) Garmin - Cervelo12
3Adrie Visser (Ned) HTC Highroad Women9
4Charlotte Becker (Ger) HTC Highroad Women7
5Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) Nederland Bloeit6
6Iris Slappendel (Ned) Garmin - Cervelo5
7Trine Schmidt (Den) Garmin - Cervelo4
8Alison Starnes (USA) United States of America3
9Noemi Cantele (Ita) Garmin - Cervelo2
10Valentina Scandolara (Ita) Gauss1

Young rider
1Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) HTC Highroad Women3:06:51
2Trine Schmidt (Den) Garmin - Cervelo
3Valentina Scandolara (Ita) Gauss0:02:02
4Rasa Leleivyte (Ltu) Vaiano Solaristech
5Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) SC Mcipollini Giordana
6Aude Biannic (Fra) France
7Roxanne Knetemann (Ned) Skil-Koga Cycling Team
8Aurore Verhoeven (Fra) Gauss
9Emilia Fahlin (Swe) HTC Highroad Women
10Shi Li Na (Chn) China Chongming - Giant Pro Cycling
11Chloe Hosking (Aus) HTC Highroad Women
12Marta Bastianelli (Ita) SC Mcipollini Giordana
13Gloria Presti (Ita) Italy
14Elena Cecchini (Ita) Italy
15Eleonora Patuzzo (Ita) Italy
16Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Gauss
17Amanda Spratt (Aus) Australia0:02:07
18Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Australia
19Carlee Taylor (Aus) Australia0:02:11
20Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Lotto Honda Team
21Romy Kasper (Ger) Germany
22Lorena Foresi (Ita) Gauss
23Amy Pieters (Ned) Skil-Koga Cycling Team0:04:42
24Eleonora Spaliviero (Ita) Vaiano Solaristech
25Shanne Braspennincx (Ned) Netherlands0:09:21
26Luo Xiaoling (Chn) China Chongming - Giant Pro Cycling
27Kim Schoonbaert (Bel) Lotto Honda Team
28Jessie Daams (Bel) Garmin - Cervelo
29Kendall Ryan (USA) United States of America
30Katarzyna Sosna (Ltu) Vaiano Solaristech
31Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Germany
32Annalisa Cucinotta (Ita) Italy
33Rossella Callovi (Ita) SC Mcipollini Giordana
34Fiona Dutriaux (Fra) France
35Simona Martini (Ita) Vaiano Solaristech
36Lucy Martin (GBr) Garmin - Cervelo
37Pascale Jeuland (Fra) France
38Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Netherlands
39Jacquelyn Crowell (USA) United States of America
40Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Italy
41Emilie Blanquefort (Fra) France0:16:34
42Hannah Welter (Ned) Skil-Koga Cycling Team
43Valentina Bastianelli (Ita) Vaiano Solaristech
44Annelies Visser (Ned) Netherlands0:16:43
45Wong Wan Yin Jamie (Chn) China Chongming - Giant Pro Cycling0:17:59
46Huang Li (Chn) China Chongming - Giant Pro Cycling
47Emma Trott (GBr) Nederland Bloeit0:18:40
48Laura Fouquet (Ger) Germany
49Melanie Woering (Ned) Netherlands
50Coryn Rivera (USA) United States of America
51Henriette Woering (Ned) Netherlands

1HTC-Highroad Women9:20:33
3Nederland Bloeit0:04:04
7Sc Mcipollini Giordana0:06:13
9Lotto Honda Team0:06:24
10Skil-Koga Cycling Team
12China Chongming-Giant
13Vaiano Solaritech0:16:05

General classification after stage 2
1Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) HTC Highroad Women5:25:42
2Charlotte Becker (Ger) HTC Highroad Women0:00:15
3Iris Slappendel (Ned) Garmin - Cervelo0:00:21
4Adrie Visser (Ned) HTC Highroad Women0:00:24
5Alexis Rhodes (Aus) Garmin - Cervelo0:00:26
6Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) Nederland Bloeit0:00:32
7Trine Schmidt (Den) Garmin - Cervelo
8Rochelle Gilmore (Aus) Lotto Honda Team0:02:04
9Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Italy0:02:09
10Chloe Hosking (Aus) HTC Highroad Women0:02:14
11Martine Bras (Ned) Netherlands0:02:17
12Noemi Cantele (Ita) Garmin - Cervelo0:02:18
13Valentina Scandolara (Ita) Gauss
14Nicole Cooke (Gbr) SC Mcipollini Giordana0:02:25
15Suzanne de Goede (Ned) Skil-Koga Cycling Team0:02:26
16Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Australia0:02:29
17Sophie Creux (Fra) France0:02:30
18Kirsty Broun (Aus) Australia0:02:31
19Eleonora Patuzzo (Ita) Italy0:02:32
20Alison Starnes (USA) United States of America
21Roxanne Knetemann (Ned) Skil-Koga Cycling Team0:02:34
22Rasa Leleivyte (Ltu) Vaiano Solaristech
23Meng Lang (Chn) China Chongming - Giant Pro Cycling
24Sarah Düster (Ger) Nederland Bloeit
25Gloria Presti (Ita) Italy
26Elke Gebhardt (Ger) Germany
27Emma Mackie (Aus) Australia
28Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) SC Mcipollini Giordana
29Alessandra Borchi (Ita) Gauss
30Shi Li Na (Chn) China Chongming - Giant Pro Cycling
31Emilia Fahlin (Swe) HTC Highroad Women
32Aude Biannic (Fra) France
33Janneke Kanis (Ned) Nederland Bloeit
34Marieke Van Wanroij (Ned) Nederland Bloeit
35Marta Bastianelli (Ita) SC Mcipollini Giordana
36Elena Cecchini (Ita) Italy
37Madeleine Sandig (Ger) Germany
38Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Gauss
39Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Lotto Honda Team0:02:43
40Romy Kasper (Ger) Germany
41Ludivine Henrion (Bel) Lotto Honda Team
42Lorena Foresi (Ita) Gauss
43Veronica Andreasson (Swe) Lotto Honda Team
44Monia Baccaille (Ita) SC Mcipollini Giordana
45Carlee Taylor (Aus) Australia
46Christina Becker (Ger) Skil-Koga Cycling Team
47Aurore Verhoeven (Fra) Gauss0:02:44
48Amanda Spratt (Aus) Australia0:03:02
49Amy Pieters (Ned) Skil-Koga Cycling Team0:05:14
50Eleonora Spaliviero (Ita) Vaiano Solaristech
51Rossella Callovi (Ita) SC Mcipollini Giordana0:09:37
52Lucy Martin (GBr) Garmin - Cervelo
53Ruth Corset (Aus) Australia0:09:43
54Zhao Na (Chn) China Chongming - Giant Pro Cycling0:09:53
55Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Germany
56Fanny Riberot (Fra) France
57Alison Testroete (Can) Skil-Koga Cycling Team
58Jessie Daams (Bel) Garmin - Cervelo
59Shanne Braspennincx (Ned) Netherlands
60Kim Schoonbaert (Bel) Lotto Honda Team
61Jacquelyn Crowell (USA) United States of America
62Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Netherlands
63Fiona Dutriaux (Fra) France
64Annalisa Cucinotta (Ita) Italy
65Kendall Ryan (USA) United States of America
66Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Italy
67Patricia Schwager (Swi) Nederland Bloeit
68Luo Xiaoling (Chn) China Chongming - Giant Pro Cycling
69Evelyn Stevens (USA) HTC Highroad Women
70Laure Werner (Bel) Lotto Honda Team
71Simona Martini (Ita) Vaiano Solaristech0:10:02
72Katarzyna Sosna (Ltu) Vaiano Solaristech0:10:16
73Pascale Jeuland (Fra) France0:12:16
74Emilie Blanquefort (Fra) France0:17:06
75Valentina Bastianelli (Ita) Vaiano Solaristech
76Verena Jooss (Ger) Germany
77Luisa Tamanini (Ita) Gauss
78Hannah Welter (Ned) Skil-Koga Cycling Team
79Carmen Small (USA) United States of America0:17:13
80Annelies Visser (Ned) Netherlands0:17:15
81Wong Wan Yin Jamie (Chn) China Chongming - Giant Pro Cycling0:18:31
82Huang Li (Chn) China Chongming - Giant Pro Cycling
83Coryn Rivera (USA) United States of America0:19:12
84Melanie Woering (Ned) Netherlands
85Laura Fouquet (Ger) Germany
86Henriette Woering (Ned) Netherlands
87Megan Guarnier (USA) United States of America0:19:22
88Emma Trott (Gbr) Nederland Bloeit0:19:35

Points classification
1Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) HTC Highroad Women28pts
2Rochelle Gilmore (Aus) Lotto Honda Team19
3Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Italy15
4Adrie Visser (Ned) HTC Highroad Women13
5Alexis Rhodes (Aus) Garmin - Cervelo12
6Charlotte Becker (Ger) HTC Highroad Women11
7Chloe Hosking (Aus) HTC Highroad Women9
8Iris Slappendel (Ned) Garmin - Cervelo6
9Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) Nederland Bloeit6
10Martine Bras (Ned) Netherlands6
11Lucy Martin (Gbr) Garmin - Cervelo6
12Trine Schmidt (Den) Garmin - Cervelo4
13Rossella Callovi (Ita) SC Mcipollini Giordana4
14Kirsty Broun (Aus) Australia3
15Noemi Cantele (Ita) Garmin - Cervelo3
16Suzanne de Goede (Ned) Skil-Koga Cycling Team3
17Alison Starnes (USA) United States of America3
18Valentina Scandolara (Ita) Gauss1

Young rider classification
1Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) HTC Highroad Women5:25:42
2Trine Schmidt (Den) Garmin - Cervelo0:00:32
3Chloe Hosking (Aus) HTC Highroad Women0:02:14
4Valentina Scandolara (Ita) Gauss0:02:18
5Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Australia0:02:29
6Eleonora Patuzzo (Ita) Italy0:02:32
7Roxanne Knetemann (Ned) Skil-Koga Cycling Team0:02:34
8Rasa Leleivyte (Ltu) Vaiano Solaristech
9Gloria Presti (Ita) Italy
10Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) SC Mcipollini Giordana
11Shi Li Na (Chn) China Chongming - Giant Pro Cycling
12Emilia Fahlin (Swe) HTC Highroad Women
13Aude Biannic (Fra) France
14Marta Bastianelli (Ita) SC Mcipollini Giordana
15Elena Cecchini (Ita) Italy
16Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Gauss
17Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Lotto Honda Team0:02:43
18Romy Kasper (Ger) Germany
19Lorena Foresi (Ita) Gauss
20Carlee Taylor (Aus) Australia
21Aurore Verhoeven (Fra) Gauss0:02:44
22Amanda Spratt (Aus) Australia0:03:02
23Amy Pieters (Ned) Skil-Koga Cycling Team0:05:14
24Eleonora Spaliviero (Ita) Vaiano Solaristech
25Rossella Callovi (Ita) SC Mcipollini Giordana0:09:37
26Lucy Martin (Gbr) Garmin - Cervelo
27Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Germany0:09:53
28Jessie Daams (Bel) Garmin - Cervelo
29Shanne Braspennincx (Ned) Netherlands
30Kim Schoonbaert (Bel) Lotto Honda Team
31Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Netherlands
32Jacquelyn Crowell (USA) United States of America
33Fiona Dutriaux (Fra) France
34Annalisa Cucinotta (Ita) Italy
35Kendall Ryan (USA) United States of America
36Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Italy
37Luo Xiaoling (Chn) China Chongming - Giant Pro Cycling
38Simona Martini (Ita) Vaiano Solaristech0:10:02
39Katarzyna Sosna (Ltu) Vaiano Solaristech0:10:16
40Pascale Jeuland (Fra) France0:12:16
41Emilie Blanquefort (Fra) France0:17:06
42Valentina Bastianelli (Ita) Vaiano Solaristech
43Hannah Welter (Ned) Skil-Koga Cycling Team
44Annelies Visser (Ned) Netherlands0:17:15
45Wong Wan Yin Jamie (Chn) China Chongming - Giant Pro Cycling0:18:31
46Huang Li (Chn) China Chongming - Giant Pro Cycling
47Coryn Rivera (USA) United States of America0:19:12
48Melanie Woering (Ned) Netherlands
49Laura Fouquet (Ger) Germany
50Henriette Woering (Ned) Netherlands
51Emma Trott (GBr) Nederland Bloeit0:19:35

Teams classification
1HTC-Highroad Women16:17:54
3Nederland Bloeit0:04:52
4Sc Mcipollini Giordana0:06:29
8Skil-Koga Cycling Team0:06:56
9Lotto Honda Team
12China Chongming-Giant0:14:13
13Vaiano Solaritech0:16:53


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Barry Ryan

Barry Ryan is European Editor at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation (opens in new tab), published by Gill Books.

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