Lizzie Armitstead admitted she was “shocked” after she won today’s final Ladies Tour of Qatar stage in downtown Doha to secure the overall victory.
Armitstead only needed to finish third to pip Wiggle-Honda’s Chloe Hosking to the title, but the 26-year-old from Yorkshire narrowly edged out the Australian in the final sprint to win by 12 seconds.
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“It’s a really nice surprise, I’m in better shape than I expected,” said the Boels-Dolmans rider. “I didn’t come here to win; I came here for the training, and to find out what I’m missing.”
Armitstead had helped her cause earlier in the stage by winning the first intermediate sprint, but Hosking gained two seconds on her in the second, which took place on a finishing circuit in the Qatari capital.
However, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
“We probably went early but I was caught off guard. That put more pressure on in the final sprint, but I learnt from it for the finish,” Armitstead added.
“It was difficult to judge the wind [on the circuit]; although it was crosswind, sometimes it was coming off the sea. With the bend in the road at 200m to go, it became a headwind.”
Armitstead also added the silver sprints jersey to her gold GC maillot, while Hosking’s Wiggle-Honda squad won the team classification.