And then there were two. Trixi Worrack (Specialized-Lululemon) and Judith Arndt (GreenEdge-AIS) escaped in the closing kilometres and shared the spoils on day two of the ladies Tour of Qatar.
Once away, they proved to be one of the most effective German partnerships since Mercedes and Benz, putting over two minutes into the opposition. Worrack won the stage, compatriot Arndt put on the leader’s jersey.
Two seconds separate the pair. The fight for overall race victory will go down to intermediate sprint and finish line bonus seconds in Doha tomorrow.
Wild shot out
Having failed to work over the outnumbered Wild yesterday, Specialized-Lululemon and GreenEdge were not made to look foolish again.
“Yesterday, I was pretty upset with how they acted tactically,” Specialized-Lululemon team directeur sportif Jens Zemke told CW at the finish. “Today, we had three girls in the front group, we had to attack, attack, attack, super. They did everything right.”
There was an early echelon explosion, due to some of the fiercest winds the race has ever seen. Nine riders, including protagonists Wild, Arndt, Hosking and defending champion Van Dijk, made the leading group.
On the finishing circuit around Madinat Al Shamal, a select forty-odd lead group formed. Twenty five kilometres from the finish, the attacks started.
“My plan was simple: to follow them all,” a disappointed Wild said at the finish. She was eventually overwhelmed, but broke away from the bunch late on with fellow countrywoman Adrie Visser to finish fourth.
In front, Arndt and Worrack quickly carved out an advantage of over two minutes as cohesion crumbled behind.
“We had attacked twenty times,” Worrack told CW. “This time, I went, saw Judith was 100 metres behind me and waited: it doesn’t make sense to go alone in this wind. I can’t imagine anyone better, Judith is world time trial champion and so strong.”
Specialized off the mark
This is the first win of the season for Specialized-Lulelemon, who moved in to save the old HTC-Columbia team last year.
Worrack’s British teammate Katie Colclough rode strongly too, finishing twelfth.
World champion Giorgia Bronzini (Diadora-Pasta Zara) crashed in the run-in to the finish, sustaining cuts and abrasions.
Ladies Tour of Qatar, stage two: Al Zubara Fort to Madinat Al Shamal, 114.5km
1. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Specialized-Lululemon 3-05-37
2. Judith Arndt (Ger) GreenEdge-AIS at same time
3. Adrie Visser (Ned) Skil-4t1i at 2-20
4. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Netherlands National Team
5. Shelly Olds (Usa) US National Team at 2-49
6. Martine Bras (Ned) Netherlands National Team at 2-51
7. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) MCipollini Giambenini
8. Latoya Brulee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Ridey 2012
9. Jessie Maclean (Aus) GreenEdge-AIS
10. Valentina Scandolara (Ita) Italy National Team
12. Katie Colclough (Gbr) Specialized-Lululemon
37. Giorga Bronzini (Ita) Diadora-Pasta Zara all same time
General classification after stage two
1. Judith Arndt (Ger) GreenEdge-AIS 5-22-12
2. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Specialized-Lulelemon at 2secs
3. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Netherlands National Team at 2-16
4. Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Specialized-Lululemon at 2-59
5. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Specialized-Lululemon at 3-00
6. Alexis Rhodes (Aus) GreenEdge-AIS at 3-06
7. Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) GreenEdge-AIS
8. Jessie Maclean (Aus) GreenEdge-AIS at 5-22
9. Elena Cecchini (Ita) MCipollini-Giambenini
10. Sarah Duster (Ger) Rabobank all same time
36. Katie Colclough (Gbr) Specialized-Lululemon at 16-58
Wild uses wiles to win Qatar opener