It’s been a tough week for Wiggle-High 5, but Chloe Hosking’s 2016 Ladies Tour of Qatar stage four win has at least made partial amends. The 25-year-old sprinted to victory on the Doha Corniche to score the team’s second victory of the season, after Nettie Edmondson’s Tour Down Under stage last month.
The team arrived in Qatar with high hopes, Hosking apparently the protected rider. In the end, however, Amy Pieters was highest on general classification, finishing in sixth, with Hosking three places back.
A late intermediate sprint on stage one put Australian Hosking out of position for the finish only nine kilometres later, and a series of tactical errors on the two windy stages put them out of contention for the overall.
Today’s victory, however has redeemed the outfit, who came to the race as the World’s top ranked team.
“The girls were disappointed yesterday,” Egon van Kessel, Wiggle-High 5 directeur sportif told Cycling Weekly after the race.
“We had a longer team meeting than normal, but it was a good one. We chased very, very hard yesterday, Chloe also, so the girls were tired today. Our control at the end of the race today was very good, so it’s really special that we can win today.”
Having missed the second half of the 2015 season with injury, Hosking herself was relieved to have notched up her first win since May.
“I haven’t raced with the big girls for seven months, so if anything it’s just a relief,” she told us. “Nobody put any pressure on me other than myself and the team has been really supportive and we wanted to come out and redeem ourselves after yesterday.”
Today’s stage was always going to end in a sprint. At only 73km, it was the shortest of the race, starting as it did at the Doha Aspire Zone and finishing by the sea, amidst the glittering high rise buildings of the country’s capital. A lone escapee was never allowed too far from the pack, who caught her on the last of 11 six kilometre laps of the Corniche.
German Trixi Worrack (Canyon-SRAM) won the general classification by 17 seconds from compatriot Romy Kasper (Boels-Dolmans). Despite failing to win a stage, Canyon-SRAM dominated the race and set the tone for much the of the week, placing at least one rider in every significant break or echelon.
The German registered team, launched in London before Christmas, was born from the ashes of the Velocio-SRAM outfit which folded last year.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better start to this team,” manager Ronny Lauke said. “Most of the girls have ridden together in the past, so they know what to expect from one another and this was probably the biggest advantage, so everybody is pleased and happy with this result.”
The five-stage men’s race begins on Monday, whilst the next outing for the elite women is Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, on February 27, where World Champion Lizzie Armitstead is set to debut her rainbow jersey.
Watch: Women’s WorldTour contenders for 2016
Ladies Tour of Qatar 2016, stage four: Doha to Doha, 74km
1. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Wiggle-High 5
2. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Hitec Products
3. Monique Van De Ree (Ned) Lares-Waowdeals
4. Anouska Koster (Ned) Rabo-Liv
5. Shelley Olds (USA) Cylance Pro Cycling
Final overall classification
1. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Canyon-SRAM
2. Romy Kasper (Ger) Boles-Dolmans at 17 secs
3. Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Boels-Dolmans at 28 secs
4. Katrin Garfoot (Aus) Orica-AIS at 43 secs
5. Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-AIS at 50 secs
6. Amy Pieters (Ned) Wiggle-High 5 at 53 secs
7. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-SRAM at 56 secs
8. Anouska Koster (Ned) Rabo-Liv at 1-32
9. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Wiggle-High 5 at 1-32
10. Lauretta Hanson (Aus) Australia at 1-32
40. Eileen Roe (GBr) Lares-Waowdeals at 15-32
68. Danielle King (GBr) Wiggle-High 5 at 22-30