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  Ladies Tour of Qatar Preview  
  The Ladies Tour of Qatar is first big race of the year on the UCI women's calendar and the first race of the year for most professionals other than the Australian's and the few who make the trip to Argentina. Kirsten Wild has dominated the event, winning four of the six editions. With her focus turning towards the track and with the World Championships in the middle of February she doesn't return to defend. There is no shortage of sprinters on the start line through.

2014 Recap

Stage 1 - Kirsten Wild
Stage 2 - Amy Pieters
Stage 3 - Kirsten Wild
Stage 4 - Kirsten Wild

General Classification
1 Kirsten Wild
2 Amy Pieters +22
3 Chloe Hosking +36
4 Emma Johansson +50
5 Trixi Worrack +1:02
6 Melissa Hoskins +1:06
7 Jolien D'Hoore +1:44
8 Elena Cecchini +1:55
9 Tiffany Cromwell +2:03
10 Iris Slappendel +2:31

As they have since the team started Orica-AIS tore the race apart in the crosswinds. Kirsten Wild won the sprint from a select group of 20.

The second stage saw much the same with a group of around 20 escaping under the crosswinds before several riders escaped late in the stage. Amy Pieters took the stage ahead of Anna Van der Breggen, Charlotte Becker and Inga Cilvinaite. Wild won the bunch sprint 27" back but lost the race lead to teammate Amy Pieters.

Crosswinds again saw the race split with Orica-AIS again the driving factor. Kirsten Wild took the stage win from a select group and regained the lead due to bonus seconds.

A large group of 40 riders contested the finish with Wild making it three stage wins ahead of Giorgia Bronzini and Melissa Hoskins.

Past Winners

2014 Kirsten Wild
2013 Kirsten Wild
2012 Judith Arndt
2011 Ellen Van Dijk
2010 Kirsten Wild
2009 Kirsten Wild

The Route

For those unfamiliar with the race four stages with pan flat roads. Crosswinds on the open desert roads are what makes the race. The big teams especially those without a pure sprinter will take advantage of every opportunity to split the race.

Stage 1 - Museum of Islamic Art - Dukhan Beach (98km)
Sprint 1 - 28km
Sprint 2 - 69km

Stage 2 - Al Zubarah Fort - Madinat Al Shamal (112km)
Sprint 1 - 72km
Sprint 2 - 99km

Stage 3 - Souq Waqif - Al Khor Corniche (93km)
Sprint 1 - 44km
Sprint 2 - 63km

Stage 4 - Sealine Beach Resort - Doha Corniche (101km)
Sprint 1 - 38km
Sprint 2 - 90km

The Contenders

Start list available here


Amy Pieters

Pieters had a very strong season in 2014 and it all started with her stage win here. Her stage win came from a late attack but Pieters is also very quick on the line. Won the first European race of the year Omloop Het Nieuwsblad a month later. Those were her only two wins but had 17 other top 10 finishes all while on the same team as Kirsten Wild. This year without Wild on the team expect her to have more opportunities.

Lucy Garner

The 20 year old dual Junior World Champion went without a win last year despite five podiums and 11 top 10 finishes. With Kirsten Wild having left the team the door is open for Garner to step in to the role of the teams top sprinter. Liv-Plantur might have last years runner up on the team but when it comes to a sprint on flat Garner has a faster finish.

Wiggle Honda

Giorgia Bronzini

Bronzini has often started the season slowly but for the second year she has started her season in January. In 2014 picked up three stages at the Bay Crits, this year it was only one, though she added another win at the Santos Women's Tour. The former dual World Champion is one of the top sprinters in the world and without Kirsten Wild in the race Bronzini is the name to beat.

Chloe Hosking

The Australian sprinter was left without a team when her contract with Hitec was not renewed but was eventually picked up by Wiggle Honda. One of the few people in the world to have beaten Kirsten Wild in a sprint, over the past few years when she won EPZ Omloop van Borsele in 2014. Started 2014 on a strong note winning the opening stage and the overall at Bay Crits. With the sprint depth on the team might have to support others.

Jolien d'Hoore

D'Hoore stepped up to another level on both the track and road in 2014. Claimed five wins last year including the Belgium Championships for a total of 15 podium finishes. Has a very quick finish and is certainly one who could challenge for not just stage but the overall wins. Won the opening round of the Track World Cup in Guadalajara and with the Track World Championships in the middle of February her form should be nearing peak.


The team comes without a pure sprinter with Melissa Hoskins focused solely on the track. That has been the case the past few years but the team always performs here. Orica-AIS have won the team classification the past two years. If there is one certainty heading in to the race that is at the fist sign of a cross wind Orica-AIS will take advantage of it.

Emma Johansson

Former world number one Emma Johansson may prove to be the teams best option. Johansson finished sixth in 2013 and fourth last year in her first two seasons with the team. While Johansson is not a pure sprinter her finish is quick enough to be in contention. If Orica-AIS succeeds in splitting the race in select groups Johansson will be even more dangerous. One of the few riders who rides the entire season and is winning from start to finish.

Valentina Scandolara is a rider on form having won the Santos Women's Tour winning the opening stage and finishing third in the final stage criterium. Gracie Elvin has finished fourth here before and after missing out on defending her Australian title will look to pick up a win early. Loes Gunnewijk and Amanda Spratt both have quick finishes as well.

Lizzie Armitstead

Armitstead stepped up to another level winning the World Cup series and the Commonwealth Games road race. Another rider who is not a pure sprinter but can be in the mix in finishes like this. Backed by a very strong Boels Dolmans team that includes Chantal Blaak, Christine Majerus, Ellen Van Dijk and junior World Champion Amalie Dideriksen. Was caught out with crosswinds last year and cost her a strong overall finish.


Since the retirement of Ina-Yoko Teutenberg the team has been without a sprinter. The recruitment of Barbara Guarischi now gives the team an option to be competitive in bunch sprints.

Barbara Guarischi

Guarischi was consistent across the entire season with top 10's in Qatar in February to Premondiale Giro Toscana in September. Picked up stage wins at La Route de France and Trophée d'Or Féminin and just under 30 top 10 finishes. If Guarischi can turn some of the 17 top five finishes in to wins now she is backed by a strong team she will become one of the top sprinters in the sport. Her quick finish combined with the strength of the team makes her a name to watch.

Loren Rowney

Had a difficult start to last season with glandular fever but things turned around in the second half with a stage win at Tour de l'Ardèche. Not a pure sprinter but has a quick finish and was around the mark at the Santos Women's Tour, finishing third overall. Likely to lead out Guarischi but in the right situation will be dangerous herself.

The German time trial and road race champion Lisa Brennauer took 12 victories in 2014 including the World title in the individual and team time trial plus a narrow second in the road race. Brennauer's all round ability makes her dangerous both in a support role for Guarischi and herself if the opportunity arises. Trixi Worrack finished fifth last year and combined with Tiffany Cromwell and Alena Amialiusik the team has a formidable lead out train and strength to split the race.

Elena Cecchini

The Italian Championships were the only win of the year for Elena Cecchini despite a very consistent year including 21 top 10 finishes including second at the Tour of Chongming Island World Cup. Started her season in Argentina taking seventh in the Gran Prix San Luis Femenino and four top 10 finishes at the Tour Femenino de San Luis. A quick finish thanks to her time on the track is likely to be challenging for the top 10 again.

Shelley Olds

Olds finished second on the opening stage last year before being caught out in the crosswinds on stage two. Took wins throughout 2014 at Vuelta Internacional Femenina a Costa Rica, GP Comune di Cornaredo, Winston-Salem Cycling Classic and Premondiale Giro Toscana and three podiums at the Giro Rosa. A pure sprinter who has the speed to be challenging the likes of Giorgia Bronzini for the win.

Marta Tagliaferro

A strong sprinter but inconsistent. Finished ninth here in 2013 after four top five finishes plus numerous strong performances in Europe. Ninth at the Tour of Chongming Island and second at Tour of Zhoushan Island last year. If Tagliaferro manages to make the splits could put in a strong performance.

Lauren Kitchen

Has played a support role for the past few years and after a quiet 2014 will be looking to continue 2015 on a strong note. 2015 started with second overall and two podiums at the Bay Crits. Kitchen them claimed bronze in the Australian criterium championships before taking ninth in the road race. A quick finisher but lacks the pure finishing speed of others.

Leach Kirchmann

Spends most of her time racing in North America but when she does race against the big professional peloton in Europe always performs well. The triple Canadian Champion won the White Spot / Delta Road Race, finished third at La Course and eighth at the Commonwealth Games.

Kimberley Wells

A 2014 to forget with illness and injury forcing her to miss most of the season including her time in Europe with Futuroscope. Wells won the Noosa, Stan Siejka Cycling Classic and Shimano Super Crit criteriums at the end of 2014 before regaining her national criterium title in January this year. A name that may not be overly familiar to many outside of Australia but Wells packs a very quick finish. As long as she doesn't get caught out in any splits could well pull off a stage win and challenge for the overall.

Other names to watch: Chantal Blaak, Amalie Dideriksen and Ellen Van Dijk, Tiffany Cromwell, Lucina Brand, Soline Lamboley, Joelle Numainville, Brianna Walle and Kendelle Hodges.
 © 2016