By Owen Rogers
Two stage wins in two days ensured Wiggle-High5’s Jolien D’Hoore took overall victory at the Tour of Chongming Island on Sunday morning.
The Belgian rider sprinted to win the 111.6km final, third stage and replicate the team’s victory at the event last year, when Chloe Hosking took the honours.
Despite crashing heavily in Friday’s opening stage - when she sustained some startling road rash - the Olympic Omnium bronze medallist was able to recover, finishing fifth that day before bagging Saturday’s stage.
Crucially, however, before that opening day crash, D’Hoore had been able to accrue bonus seconds in the intermediate sprints, making her victory relatively comfortable.
All three stages of the event near Shanghai start and finish in the same place - Chongming Xin cheng Park - and with the area being flat, each day invariably results in a sprint finish. This year was no different.
Kirsten Wild won Friday’s 118.8km stage, bagging her Cylance team’s first WorldTour win of the year. Though she out-sprinted Hosking (Alé-Cipollini) to take the victory, it was the Australian who took the leader’s yellow jersey, benefiting from her astute accrual of bonus seconds in the intermediate sprints.
Riding for Wiggle-High5 last year, Hosking won one stage and the general classification, but failed to bag a win this year riding for her new Italian outfit.
It was left to her erstwhile team-mate D’Hoore to take the honours with the Belgian claiming the leader’s yellow jersey after her stage two success and not relinquishing it.
Chongming has hosted a top level women’s event for some years. Part of the World Cup between 2010 and 2015, a one day race followed a stage race and it is the latter event which took its place when the WorldTour was introduced last season.
Not all top teams are required to enter Women’s WorldTour events, some regarding Chongming as a journey too far after an arduous spring. As such many of the sport’s top riders were absent from the opening WorldTour stage race of the year, though the three podium finishers are among the cream of sprinting talent.
British representation at the Chinese event came in the form of Amy Roberts, Lucy and Grace Garner, all of them working in a domestique role for D’Hoore, whose excellent sprint credentials ensured her appointment as team leader.
The next race on the WorldTour calendar is the Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Race empowered with SRAM - the Tour of California - which takes place between May 11th and 14th.
A more varied parcours and a stronger field are likely to bring less predictable racing than seen last week in China.
Tour of Chongming Island, 5 -7 May, China - Final General Classification
1. Jolien D’hoore (Bel) Wiggle-High5, 9-24-09
2. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Cylance, at 0-05
3. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Alé-Cipollini, at 0-06
4. Sarah Roy (Aus) Orica-Scott,at 0-23
5. Christina Sigaard (Den) Hitec Products
6. Anna Stricker (Ita) BTC City Ljubljana, at same time
7. Emilie Moberg (Nor) Hitec Products, at 0-24
8. Kseniya Dobrynina (Rus) Servetto Giusta, at same time
9. Maria Sperotto (Ita) BePink-Cogeas, at 0-25
10. Anette Edmondson (Aus) Wiggle-High5, at same time
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