The opening stage of the Ladies Tour of Qatar set off from the Museum of Islamic Art. The field passed through the start/finish line for the first of two intermediate sprints where they encountered a tailwind. A right-hand turn into the crosswind at the 55 km mark set the scene for a selection.
When the ladies turned into the crosswind, the race blew apart. The front group was a bit larger to start. Five or six riders got dropped when the race was in the gutter. By the time things settled down 25 kms from the finish, 21 riders lead the race by about 2:30 over the next group of chasers.
Chloe Hosking jumped from the front group 10 km from the finish. She immediately gained a slight advantage. Gracie ELVIN (ORICA-AIS) and Lisa BRENNAUER (Specialized-lululemon) bridged across together. Liesbeth De VOCHT (Rabo-Liv-Giant) followed ELVIN, HOSKING and BRENNAUER across the gap. The four riders quickly established a rotation and grew their advantage to 45 seconds.
The quartet eyed each other and their chasers along the wide straight stretch of road leading to the finish line. Their hesitations saw their advantage tumble to ten seconds. HOSKING opened the sprint. ELVIN matched her increased speed. The two crossed the line shoulder to shoulder with HOSKING just barely edging out ELVIN for the stage win.
This victory marks a fantastic start of the season for the HITEC UCK Product Team and a great debut for Chloe HOSKING. This was her first win in Qatar, and would send the team in the right direction after Emilie Moberg had to be pulled from the race at the last minute due to illness.