Kirsten Wild (Argos-Shimano) topped off an incredibly dominant display at the Ladies' Tour of Qatar with victory in the final stage to Doha - her third in a row. Unsurprisingly, she ended the four-day race as the overall winner, too.
The showpiece finish, on the Corniche that looks across the bay to the city's towering skyscrapers, saw a big bunch sprint, with Wild being given a strong leadout from her Dutch team then launching her own sprint early and holding on as Lucinda Brand (Rabobank) and Marta Tagliaferro (Cipollini-Giordana) challenged her on the line.
Wild also won the intermediate sprint, to increase her overall lead, then sat back as nine riders broke clear. They gained over a minute but even the presence of Shelley Olds (Specialized-lululemon) gave her no cause for concern. Her team did a good job of controlling it and then setting their leader up for the sprint, and she paid tribute to them afterwards for seeing off her closest challenger, the stage one winner, Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products).
"The girls were so strong there was no chance," said Wild. "If you saw our train, you'd see how impossible it was to pass. It was impressive.
"They rode from the beginning. I only had to follow. I saved my energy so I could arrive fresh in the sprint. I had hoped for the jersey, but getting the stage too... I'm happy."
While some women skipped Qatar to focus on the track world championships, Wild has opted to do both. She will ride the points and scratch races in Minsk, though her preparation on the track has been limited to the Dutch national championships and Rotterdam six-day.
"I thought I could do both Qatar and the track worlds," she said. "It's a gamble. But think the way the racing has gone, it will be good preparation - a lot of it is like a points race. The level was high. There were a lot of good riders here, and there were more attacks this year."
Ladies Tour of Qatar 2013: Related links
Stage three: Wild wins again to take overall lead
Stage two: Kirsten Wild wins
Stage one: Hosking wins Tour of Qatar opener
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