What's Cool In Road Cycling

Ladies Tour of Qatar 2015 : Up for Grabs

While title holder and multiple winner, Kirsten Wild, has decided to focus on the track World Championships in France for the start of her season, the Ladies’ Tour of Qatar promises to be extremely exciting with a very impressive field of riders and quite a few contenders for overall victory. The likes of Elen Van Dijk, Amy Pieters, Lizzie Armitstead or Giorgia Bronzini will be battling it out for the Golden jersey on the four-day event across the peninsula.

The Ladies’ Tour of Qatar has established itself as a major event in the women’s cycling season. For its 7th edition, and just over a year before Qatar welcomes the UCI Road World Championships, just under 90 riders from 15 teams will be fighting it out on the four demanding stages of the event from the 3rd to the 6th of February.

At a press conference organised on the eve of the race, John Lelangue, Director of Sports Operations for the Qatar Cycling Federaton admitted : “If you look at the list of starters, we have one of the best field of riders of the year. In the absence of Kirsten Wild, we are on the eve of witnessing a very open race”.

Wind will once again be a key actor of the Tour and is expected to blow strongly throughout the peninsula as soon as day one tomorrow when the pack will travel across Qatar from east to west, heading to Dukhan Beach after taking of from the splendid Museum of Islamic Art. With small gaps expected all along the event, the drama should last all the way to the final metres of the final stage on the picturesque Doha Corniche. As usual victory or defeat should depend on just a few seconds.

The Ladies to Watch :

Elen Van Dijk (Boels Dolmans):
Winner of the 2012 edition of the Tour of Qatar, the Dutch rider will be one to watch. She indeed is used to the tough conditions of the peninsula and perfectly masters the wind. Winner of the Tour of Flanders last year, Van Dijk has also conquered World crowns in the individual time-trial and team time-trial.

Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans):
The Boels Dolmans cycling team will have two precious assets with Van Dijk and of course London Olympic Silver medallist, Lizzie Armitstead. The Brit who conquered the UCI World Cup last year as well as gold at the Commonwealth Games will certainly want to open her victory list for 2015 as soon as Qatar.

Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda):
Winner of three stages since she first started competing in Qatar, Giorgia Bronzini has almost always been in contention for GC victory. Twice second of the event in 2009 and 2010, the two-time UCI World Champion started her season in style when claiming stage 4 of the Bay Classis Series as well as stage 3 of the Santos Women’s Tour. So close to victory and well helped out by a strong Wiggle-Honda squad, it could well be the Italian’s turn to shine in Gold.

Chloe Hosking (Wiggle Honda):
A new recruit at Wiggle Honda, Chloe Hosking impressed in her first appearance in Qatar when she conquered second spot overall and finished best young rider (Pearl White Jersey). Third last year, the Australian is in fine form as she proved when conquering the recent Michelton Bay Classic Series.

Amy Pieters (Liv Plantur):
Best young rider of the 2014 edition, the Dutch rider will be wearing bib number 1 which says it all. Winner of stage 2 last year, she finished runner-up of the Tour only beaten by the Queen of the event Kirsten Wild.

Other big names:
Emma Johansson (Orica – AIS): 3rd of the 2014 UCI Road World Championships. World Number 1 in 2013, Silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games.

Lisa Brennauer (Velocio – SRAM): 2014 UCI team and individual Time-trial World Champion.

Valentina Scandolara (Orica – AIS): winner of the 2015 Santos Women’s Tour

Trixi Worrack (Velocio – SRAM), Lucinda Brand (Rabo Liv), Rossella Ratto (Italy), Sheley Olds (Bigla), Lauren Kitchen (Hitec), Leah Kirchmann (Optum Kelly), Kimberley Wells (Australia)…

The stages of the Ladies Tour of Qatar 2015:
Stage 1, Tuesday 3rd February: Museaum of Islamic Art – Dukhan Beach (98.5 km)
Stage 2, Wednesday 4th February: Al Zubarah Fort > Madinat Al Shamal (112.5 km)
Stage 3, Thursday 5th February: Souq Waqif – Ah Khor Corniche (93.5 km)
Stage 4, Friday 6th February: Sealine Beach Resort – Doha Corniche (85 km)

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