Kirsten Wild took a record fourth stage win in the Tour of Qatar this afternoon, north of Doha in Al Khor. It came from a wind-savaged day, which also marked Argos-Shimano's first win of 2013 for both its men's and women's teams.
She laughed off the idea that she was the Tom Boonen of the women's tour. However, like her counterpart, she has dominated the stage race since its beginning in 2009. She won the first two editions and last year placed third overall behind winner Judith Arndt.
After 96km to the corniche in Al Khor, she racked up her fourth stage win in the tour. Italian Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda) had been tied with her with three wins.
The Qatari honour came from a small group that worked its way free to chase down an early escape. When the road changed direction and the wind hit from the side, Orica-AIS pounced. It formed a move with five of its riders, missing only Jessie MacLean. Wild and race leader Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products-UCK) were attentive and joined with two Specialized riders.
Orica tried to crack the others after it pulled back the escape. Wild held on and sprinted.
"I was worried about Orica, it's hard to control five riders. They rode a long time because the peloton was close," Wild said. "I knew they were going to attack, I said, 'bring it on.' I was ready to follow and worked it out."
With the 10-second bonus, Wild moved to third overall and within nine seconds of Australian Hosking.
"I can image what the others are thinking now," Hosking said. "When I was on Specialized last year, she won the same stage when there were four of us in the escape. It was not a happy dinner table."
Wild said that she is considering the overall title now, but that it will require her team to control over the following two stages in what is predicted to be high winds.
Win or lose, the high speed training is perfect.
"I'm going to race the Worlds on the track," added Wild, "so it's important to have good form here."
Wild is one of the few who will compete in the track Worlds next month in Minsk, Belarus. Argos team-mates Amy Pieters (Netherlands), Elke Gebhardt (Germany) and Bronzini are also scheduled to race.
Kirsten Wild on the podium
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