Britain’s Lucy van der Haar opened her season with an emphatic performance in the Middle East, taking victory in the first edition of the Dubai Women’s Tour.
Van der Haar, racing for Hitec Products-Birk Sport, said she wasn’t sure she’d take overall victory until after she’d crossed the line on the final day, as the top two riders finished on exactly the same time.
The second stage of the race was marred by a chaotic sprint, caused by a poorly marked out finish line, which featured barriers placed in the middle of the road.
Van der Haar opened the race with a sprint victory on the opening day, then never finished outside of the top-10 on the remaining three stages to take the general classification win.
Liecester-born pro Van der Haar, nee Garner, said: “It was so close, until after the finish we weren’t sure if I had won the race or not.
“It’s nice to do this after not winning a race in a while.”
“The team did amazing to try and bring everything down and chase everything back. That was really good. We rode so strong together.
“This is a good start to the season and hopefully we can carry this on.”
The inaugural edition of the 2.2-ranked Dubai Women’s Tour was raced over four stages in the Emirate, with three sprint stages and a finish on the Hatta Dam climb on stage three.
Van der Haar took the sprint on the first stage, then finished second and third on the following two stages, putting her in second overall behind Tatsiana Sharakova from Minsk Cycling Club.
The race came down to the final sprint in Dubai Festival City, where Van der Haar led the peloton across the line after a breakaway took victory.
But Van der Haar finished just two places ahead of race leader Sharakova, taking overall victory despite finishing on exactly the same time as second place.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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