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Feb 6, 2015 – After the dominance of Kirsten Wild these last few years, Lizzie Armitstead became the first British rider to win the Ladies Tour of Qatar. After her victory at the Commonwealth Games and her UCI World Cup crown last year, the Yorkshire rider adds another prestigious title to her career.
ASO/Kåre Dehlie Thorstad
The Boels Dolmans leader triumphed in style as she claimed the final stage of the event, her second success in two days. Armitstead wins this 7th edition of the race ahead of Australia’s Chloe Hosking and Netherland’s Ellen Van Dijk.
The wind had seriously picked up for the final stage of the 7th edition of the Ladies Tour of Qatar as the 83 remaining riders (two non-starters: Mustonen and Longo Borghini) took off from the Sealine Beach Resort for a 85kms stage heading north to the Doha Corniche. All the pressure at the start was of course on the shoulders of Golden Jersey, Lizzie Armitstead (DLT) only enjoying an 8’’ advantage over her team mate Ellen Van Dijk and 9’’ over her most dangerous rival Chloe Hosking (WHT). A lot could still happen on the way to the final circuit, especially with bonus seconds up for grabs at the two intermediate sprints.
The first part of the stage was a real struggle for the riders facing a fairly strong head wind (33.2 kms covered during the first hour). Despite a few attempts, the pack remained bunched all the way to the first intermediate sprint. Led out by her Boels Dolmans sqaud, Lizzie Armitstead proved to be the fastest to the line gaining 3 precious seconds while Hosking had to settle for second ahead of Johansson (GWT). Virtually the Brit had increased her overall lead to 10’’.
Just after the first battle of the day, China’s Xiu Jie Jiang (GPC) managed to break away. Like on the very first day of the event last Monday, she enjoyed her moment of glory as the gap reached 55’’ at km 47. At the first passage on the line of the final circuit her advantage had increased to reach 1’35. Not too concerned by the Chinese escapee, the pack awaited the second crossing of the line to really start reacting. Indeed Jiang was gobbled up by the hungry pack just before the penultimate lap. Time had indeed come for the second bonus sprint. This time it was Hosking’s turn to hit back as she claimed maximum points and seconds ahead of her team mate D’Hoore (WHT) and Armitstead. Virtually, Hosking had moved back within 8’’ of her overall rival.
Despite a few breakaway attempts, immediately chased, the pack remained bunched all the way to the final straght. The expected sprinting battle took place but once again there wasn’t much anyone could do against Armitstead. The Brit indeed powered to the line only just beating Hosking and Italy’s Barbara Guarischi (VEL). By claiming her second consecutive win, she comforted her overall lead and claimed her first ever Ladies Tour of Qatar. Armitstead wins the event with a 12” advantage over Hosking and 22” over Van Dijk.
As well as the Golden Jersey, Armitstead also conquers the Silver Jersey (points classification) while Beatrice Bartelloni (ALE) finishes best young rider of the event and Wiggle Honda claims the title of best team.