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Wild sprints to victory in Madinat Al Shamal

The pendulum swung in Kirsten Wild's favour in the tight battle for overall honours at the Ladies Tour of Qatar as the Argos-Shimano rider claimed stage 3 in Madinat Al Shamal, while a late puncture saw Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products UCK) lose possession of the golden jersey by three scant seconds.

Hosking's ill fortune was all the more galling considering that the Australian had been marked present and correct at each of the stage's crucial moments. At the first intermediate sprint at Al Zubara fort, Hosking limited her losses to Wild to just one bonus second, and immediately afterwards, when the peloton swung right into a testing crosswind section, she had both the positional nous and the physical strength to make the first echelon.

Then, on the finishing circuit, Hosking kept close tabs on Wild, and while she yielded another bonus second at the intermediate sprint, she seemed poised to defend her golden jersey into the final day. A little over a kilometre from the finish, however, much of Hosking's diligent work was unravelled by an untimely puncture and she bade adieu to the front group.

That said, the damage could have been far worse for Hosking – she was awarded the same time as the front group as the punctured occurred inside the final 3 kilometres – but she was unable to contest the sprint for bonus seconds at the finish, and the on-song Wild duly went on the claim the stage win and the associated bonus that now gives her possession of the overall lead.

"That's bike racing: I got a puncture, what can I say," said a disappointed Hosking after rolling in over a minute down on a flat front tyre. "My time will be adjusted but I didn't get to sprint for the bonus seconds."

For her part, Wild was unaware that the golden jersey had punctured out of the leading group, such was her focus on keeping up her end of the bargain by taking out the stage honours. In a chaotic sprint that saw the front group fragment in the finishing straight, her fellow countrywoman Elen van Dijk (Specialized-lululemon) seized the initiative by opening her effort some 200 metres into the wind, but Wild eased her way past within sight of the line to claim a commanding victory. Van Dijk held off the rapidly-closing Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda) for third, while Marta Tagliaferro (MCipollini Giordana) took fourth ahead of Shelley Olds (TIBCO-To the Top).

"It was a bit chaotic and there were still some attacks," Wild said of the frantic finale. "I was just hoping the speed would stay up to prevent any new attacks. When Elen van Dijk started the sprint, I decided to stay behind her so long as nobody else came up on my shoulder. She's so strong and had such a big gear that I didn't know if I could pass her, but in the end I think was a bit too long for her."

Overall, Wild leads Hosking by three seconds, while Gracie Elvin (Orica-AIS) – again one of the day's principal aggressors – lies third at 16 seconds, just ahead of Elen van Dijk.

Wild's victory was her second in as many days, but while she had been forced to fend for herself in the finale of stage two, on Thursday, she had three Argos-Shimano riders for company in the front group. Charlotte Becker, Marlen Johrend and Elke Gebhardt succeeded in tracking the moves on the finishing circuit and marshalling Wild into position, and it was small wonder that she felt moved to point to her jersey as she crossed the line.

"I was still suffering from yesterday but my teammates were able to control it on the front, which was nice," Wild said. "It's the first race of the season and it's important to win but we can be happy already with the two stages and the fantastic teamwork."

A rapid start

After the start at the tranquil fishing village of Al Thakira, a stiff tailwind puffed the peloton along at a considerable rate of knots and they covered an eye-watering 48 kilometres in the opening hour of racing through Qatar's hauntingly spare interior. At that pace, there was little or no scope for breakaways and the Argos-Shimano duly ensured that the bunch stayed until the sprint at the imposing Al Zubara (60km), where Wild pipped Hosking.

Immediately afterwards, the road swung right and into the crosswind, and right on cue, Orica-AIS and Specialized-lululemon set about wreaking havoc on the front end of the peloton. A combination of their forcing and a crash in the middle of the peloton (Italy's Elena Cecchini was among the fallers) allowed a group of 18 to forge clear, with Hosking, Wild and Orica's Gracie Elvin safely on board.

A strong Wiggle-Honda delegation in the second echelon meant that the leading group swelled to 33 riders within sight of the finishing circuit, with double world champion Giorgia Bronzini now back in contention. 16km out, Lisa Brennauer (Specialized-lululemon) and Chantal Blaak (TIBCO-To The Top) slipped away and while they led through the first passage of the finish line, Argos-Shimano duly swept them up inside the final 10 kilometres.

At that point, the stage seemed set for a tense finishing sprint between Wild and Hosking, before fate intervened 1.5 kilometres out and halted the Australian's progress. Her setback sees Wild assume the overall lead, and while the Dutchwoman now appears on course for a third Ladies Tour of Qatar victory, Hosking sounded a determined note as she looked ahead to the final stage to Doha Corniche. "It's still open, so for sure I'll contest the intermediate sprints and the finish," she said. "Maybe we'll go for another stage win."

Full Results
1Kirsten Wild (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano2:28:15
2Elen Van Dijk (Ned) Specialized-lululemon
3Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda0:00:02
4Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) MCipollini Giordana
5Shelley Olds (USA) Team TIBCO-To The Top0:00:04
6Simona Frapporti (Ita) BePink0:00:05
7Trixi Worrack (Ger) Specialized-lululemon
8Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS
9Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-AIS
10Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Orica-AIS
11Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Wiggle Honda
12Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Specialized-lululemon0:00:12
13Carmen Small (USA) Specialized-lululemon
14Joanne Kiesanowski (NZl) Team TIBCO-To The Top
15Noemi Cantele (Ita) BePink0:00:22
16Giulia Donato (Ita) BePink0:00:24
17Katie Colclough (GBr) Specialized-lululemon0:00:29
18Roxane Fournier (Fra) France
19Stephanie Pohl (Ger) Germany
20Anna Bianca Schnitzmeier (Ger) Wiggle Honda
21Marion Rousse (Fra) France
22Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica-AIS
23Marlen Johrend (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano
24Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) MCipollini Giordana
25Alena Amialiusik (Blr) BePink
26Elke Gebhardt (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano0:00:40
27Claudia Hausler (Ger) Team TIBCO-To The Top
28Valentina Scandolara (Ita) MCipollini Giordana
29Jessie MacLean (Aus) Orica-AIS0:00:49
30Charlotte Becker (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano
31Chantal Blaak (Ned) Team TIBCO-To The Top
32Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Hitec Products UCK0:01:33
33Chloe Hosking (Aus) Hitec Products UCK0:00:00
34Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Hitec Products UCK0:02:12
35Janneke Kanis-Busser (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano
36Malgorzata Jasinska (Pol) MCipollini Giordana0:04:31
37Shen Fan Li (Chn) China Chongming-Giant Pro Cycling0:04:46
38Thalita De Jong (Ned) Rabobank Liv/Giant
39Emily Collins (NZl) Wiggle Honda
40Lisa Küllmer (Ger) Germany
41Mélanie Bravard (Fra) France
42Huang Dongyan (Chn) China Chongming-Giant Pro Cycling
43Wong Wan Yiu Jamie (HKg) China Chongming-Giant Pro Cycling
44Jasmin Glaesser (Can) Team TIBCO-To The Top
45Mieke Kröger (Ger) Germany
46Meng Lang (Chn) China Chongming-Giant Pro Cycling
47Jessie Druyts (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer
48Charlotte Lenting (Ned) Netherlands
49Melodie Lesueur (Fra) France
50Valentina Carretta (Ita) MCipollini Giordana
51Thea Thorsen (Nor) Hitec Products UCK
52Iris Slappendel (Ned) Rabobank Liv/Giant
53Silvia Valsecchi (Ita) BePink0:04:54
54Martine Bras (Ned) Netherlands0:06:11
55Rebecca Talen (Ned) Rabobank Liv/Giant
56Loren Rowney (Aus) Specialized-lululemon
57Audrey Cordon (Fra) France
58Pascale Jeuland (Fra) France
59Kim De Baat (Ned) Netherlands
60Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Italy
61Béatrice Bartelloni (Ita) Wiggle Honda
62Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) Orica-AIS
63Annelies Visser (Ned) Netherlands
64Amy Pieters (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano
65Roxanne Knetemann (Ned) Rabobank Liv/Giant
66Sarah Scharbach (Ger) Germany0:08:15
67Nel De Crits (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer
68Arianna Fidanza (Ita) Italy
69Eline De Roover (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer
70Doris Schweizer (Swi) BePink
71Madeleine Ortmüller (Ger) Germany
72Sara Grifi (Ita) MCipollini Giordana
73Tone Hatteland Lima (Nor) Hitec Products UCK
74Anna Barensfeld (USA) Team TIBCO-To The Top
75Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabobank Liv/Giant
76Chiara Vannucci (Ita) Italy
77Tessa De Moyer (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer
78Anisha Vekemans (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer
79Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Italy
80Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Italy
81Elena Cecchini (Ita) Italy
82Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Netherlands
DNSKelly Druyts (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer
DNSRochelle Gilmore (Aus) Wiggle Honda
DNSShi Li Na (Chn) China Chongming-Giant Pro Cycling
DNFJiang Xiu Jie (Chn) China Chongming-Giant Pro Cycling
DNFLiesbeth De Vocht (Bel) Rabobank Liv/Giant

Sprint 1 - Al Zubara, 60km
1Kirsten Wild (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano3pts
2Chloe Hosking (Aus) Hitec Products UCK2
3Charlotte Becker (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano1

Sprint 2 - Madinat Al Shamal (1st crossing of the finish line), 99km
1Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Specialized-lululemon3pts
2Chantal Blaak (Ned) Team TIBCO-To The Top2
3Kirsten Wild (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano1

Points - Madinat Al Shamal, 112.5km
1Kirsten Wild (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano15pts
2Elen Van Dijk (Ned) Specialized-lululemon12
3Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda9
4Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) MCipollini Giordana7
5Shelley Olds (USA) Team TIBCO-To The Top6
6Simona Frapporti (Ita) BePink5
7Trixi Worrack (Ger) Specialized-lululemon4
8Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS3
9Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-AIS2
10Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Orica-AIS1

Young riders
1Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Wiggle Honda2:28:20
2Giulia Donato (Ita) BePink0:00:19
3Katie Colclough (GBr) Specialized-lululemon0:00:24
4Roxane Fournier (Fra) France
5Anna Bianca Schnitzmeier (Ger) Wiggle Honda
6Marion Rousse (Fra) France
7Valentina Scandolara (Ita) MCipollini Giordana0:00:35
8Chloe Hosking (Aus) Hitec Products UCK
9Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Hitec Products UCK0:02:07
10Shen Fan Li (Chn) China Chongming-Giant Pro Cycling0:04:41
11Thalita De Jong (Ned) Rabobank Liv/Giant
12Emily Collins (NZl) Wiggle Honda
13Lisa Küllmer (Ger) Germany
14Huang Dongyan (Chn) China Chongming-Giant Pro Cycling
15Jasmin Glaesser (Can) Team TIBCO-To The Top
16Mieke Kröger (Ger) Germany
17Jessie Druyts (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer
18Charlotte Lenting (Ned) Netherlands
19Melodie Lesueur (Fra) France
20Thea Thorsen (Nor) Hitec Products UCK
21Rebecca Talen (Ned) Rabobank Liv/Giant0:06:06
22Kim De Baat (Ned) Netherlands
23Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Italy
24Béatrice Bartelloni (Ita) Wiggle Honda
25Annelies Visser (Ned) Netherlands
26Amy Pieters (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano
27Sarah Scharbach (Ger) Germany0:08:10
28Nel De Crits (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer
29Arianna Fidanza (Ita) Italy
30Eline De Roover (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer
31Madeleine Ortmüller (Ger) Germany
32Chiara Vannucci (Ita) Italy
33Tessa De Moyer (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer
34Anisha Vekemans (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer
35Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Italy
36Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Italy
37Elena Cecchini (Ita) Italy
38Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Netherlands

2Team TIBCO-To The Top0:00:01
4Wiggle Honda0:00:21
6Team Argos-Shimano0:00:54
7MCipollini Giordana0:00:56
8Hitec Products UCK0:03:30
11China Chongming-Giant Pro Cycling0:14:03
12Rabobank Liv/Giant0:15:28
14Topsport Vlaanderen-Bioracer0:21:01

General classification after stage 3
1Kirsten Wild (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano7:30:43
2Chloe Hosking (Aus) Hitec Products UCK0:00:03
3Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-AIS0:00:16
4Elen Van Dijk (Ned) Specialized-lululemon0:00:17
5Trixi Worrack (Ger) Specialized-lululemon0:00:26
6Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS0:00:29
7Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Orica-AIS0:00:31
8Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Specialized-lululemon0:01:52
9Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) MCipollini Giordana0:01:58
10Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Wiggle Honda0:02:02
11Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica-AIS0:02:55
12Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda0:03:40
13Chantal Blaak (Ned) Team TIBCO-To The Top
14Carmen Small (USA) Specialized-lululemon0:03:54
15Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Hitec Products UCK0:04:09
16Claudia Hausler (Ger) Team TIBCO-To The Top0:04:22
17Elke Gebhardt (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano
18Charlotte Becker (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano0:04:30
19Simona Frapporti (Ita) BePink0:05:01
20Joanne Kiesanowski (NZl) Team TIBCO-To The Top0:05:18
21Shelley Olds (USA) Team TIBCO-To The Top0:05:20
22Stephanie Pohl (Ger) Germany0:05:25
23Katie Colclough (GBr) Specialized-lululemon
24Malgorzata Jasinska (Pol) MCipollini Giordana0:06:39
25Giulia Donato (Ita) BePink0:07:05
26Marion Rousse (Fra) France0:07:10
27Alena Amialiusik (Blr) BePink
28Anna Bianca Schnitzmeier (Ger) Wiggle Honda
29Jessie MacLean (Aus) Orica-AIS0:07:30
30Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Hitec Products UCK0:08:14
31Iris Slappendel (Ned) Rabobank Liv/Giant0:08:28
32Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) Orica-AIS0:08:29
33Amy Pieters (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano0:08:44
34Janneke Kanis-Busser (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano0:08:53
35Valentina Scandolara (Ita) MCipollini Giordana0:08:59
36Audrey Cordon (Fra) France0:09:33
37Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Italy0:09:53
38Roxanne Knetemann (Ned) Rabobank Liv/Giant
39Noemi Cantele (Ita) BePink0:10:26
40Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) MCipollini Giordana0:10:33
41Emily Collins (NZl) Wiggle Honda0:11:27
42Meng Lang (Chn) China Chongming-Giant Pro Cycling
43Thea Thorsen (Nor) Hitec Products UCK
44Jasmin Glaesser (Can) Team TIBCO-To The Top
45Charlotte Lenting (Ned) Netherlands
46Marlen Johrend (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano0:11:33
47Elena Cecchini (Ita) Italy0:11:57
48Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabobank Liv/Giant
49Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Netherlands
50Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Italy
51Pascale Jeuland (Fra) France0:12:52
52Béatrice Bartelloni (Ita) Wiggle Honda
53Kim De Baat (Ned) Netherlands
54Martine Bras (Ned) Netherlands
55Loren Rowney (Aus) Specialized-lululemon
56Thalita De Jong (Ned) Rabobank Liv/Giant0:14:40
57Shen Fan Li (Chn) China Chongming-Giant Pro Cycling
58Jessie Druyts (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer
59Huang Dongyan (Chn) China Chongming-Giant Pro Cycling
60Valentina Carretta (Ita) MCipollini Giordana
61Sara Grifi (Ita) MCipollini Giordana0:14:56
62Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Italy
63Rebecca Talen (Ned) Rabobank Liv/Giant0:16:05
64Annelies Visser (Ned) Netherlands0:20:14
65Silvia Valsecchi (Ita) BePink0:21:49
66Wong Wan Yiu Jamie (HKg) China Chongming-Giant Pro Cycling0:22:00
67Lisa Küllmer (Ger) Germany0:22:02
68Mélanie Bravard (Fra) France
69Mieke Kröger (Ger) Germany
70Nel De Crits (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer0:25:35
71Chiara Vannucci (Ita) Italy0:25:41
72Roxane Fournier (Fra) France0:25:47
73Melodie Lesueur (Fra) France0:29:22
74Anna Barensfeld (USA) Team TIBCO-To The Top0:32:32
75Madeleine Ortmüller (Ger) Germany
76Sarah Scharbach (Ger) Germany0:32:51
77Doris Schweizer (Swi) BePink
78Arianna Fidanza (Ita) Italy
79Tone Hatteland Lima (Nor) Hitec Products UCK0:36:56
80Eline De Roover (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer0:44:06
81Tessa De Moyer (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer
82Anisha Vekemans (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer

Points classification
1Kirsten Wild (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano42pts
2Chloe Hosking (Aus) Hitec Products UCK26
3Elen Van Dijk (Ned) Specialized-lululemon22
4Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-AIS19
5Trixi Worrack (Ger) Specialized-lululemon16
6Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS14
7Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) MCipollini Giordana14
8Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Specialized-lululemon12
9Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda9
10Simona Frapporti (Ita) BePink9
11Shelley Olds (USA) Team TIBCO-To The Top9
12Malgorzata Jasinska (Pol) MCipollini Giordana8
13Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Orica-AIS5
14Chantal Blaak (Ned) Team TIBCO-To The Top2
15Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) Orica-AIS2
16Audrey Cordon (Fra) France2
17Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica-AIS1
18Charlotte Becker (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano1

Young riders classification
1Chloe Hosking (Aus) Hitec Products UCK7:30:46
2Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Wiggle Honda0:01:59
3Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Hitec Products UCK0:04:06
4Katie Colclough (GBr) Specialized-lululemon0:05:22
5Giulia Donato (Ita) BePink0:07:02
6Marion Rousse (Fra) France0:07:07
7Anna Bianca Schnitzmeier (Ger) Wiggle Honda
8Amy Pieters (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano0:08:41
9Valentina Scandolara (Ita) MCipollini Giordana0:08:56
10Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Italy0:09:50
11Emily Collins (NZl) Wiggle Honda0:11:24
12Jasmin Glaesser (Can) Team TIBCO-To The Top
13Thea Thorsen (Nor) Hitec Products UCK
14Charlotte Lenting (Ned) Netherlands
15Elena Cecchini (Ita) Italy0:11:54
16Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Italy
17Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Netherlands
18Kim De Baat (Ned) Netherlands0:12:49
19Béatrice Bartelloni (Ita) Wiggle Honda
20Thalita De Jong (Ned) Rabobank Liv/Giant0:14:37
21Shen Fan Li (Chn) China Chongming-Giant Pro Cycling
22Jessie Druyts (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer
23Huang Dongyan (Chn) China Chongming-Giant Pro Cycling
24Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Italy0:14:53
25Rebecca Talen (Ned) Rabobank Liv/Giant0:16:02
26Annelies Visser (Ned) Netherlands0:20:11
27Lisa Küllmer (Ger) Germany0:21:59
28Mieke Kröger (Ger) Germany
29Nel De Crits (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer0:25:32
30Chiara Vannucci (Ita) Italy0:25:38
31Roxane Fournier (Fra) France0:25:44
32Melodie Lesueur (Fra) France0:29:19
33Madeleine Ortmüller (Ger) Germany0:32:29
34Sarah Scharbach (Ger) Germany0:32:48
35Arianna Fidanza (Ita) Italy
36Eline De Roover (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer0:44:03
37Tessa De Moyer (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer
38Anisha Vekemans (Bel) Topsport Vlaaderen-Bioracer

Teams classification
3Team Argos-Shimano0:06:25
4Wiggle Honda0:06:46
5MCipollini Giordana0:08:50
6Team TIBCO-To The Top0:09:35
7Hitec Products UCK0:11:14
10Rabobank Liv/Giant0:23:28
11China Chongming-Giant Pro Cycling0:29:38
15Topsport Vlaanderen-Bioracer0:56:58

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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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