Santos Women?s Tour champion Katrin Garfoot?has attacked emphatically with a little over one kilometre to go on stage two of the Ladies Tour Of Qatar to take a solo victory in fine style in the Middle East today.
Garfoot held off the chasing field for a 13 second victory ahead of Trixi WORRACK (Canyon-SRAM) and Amy PIETERS (Wiggle High5), continuing the incredible start to the season for ORICA-AIS and giving the team it?s tenth win so far this year.
?I?m pretty stoked to take the win today ? after a windy and quite stressful stage,? explained a happy Garfoot.
?With 25km to go I made it into a group of about eleven riders where Gracie (Elvin) was and we managed to work well together taking turns. It broke up with about six kilometres to go and I managed to stay at the front as it dropped to about four riders. ?
?I kept going and turned around with maybe two kilometres left and couldn?t believe I was alone.?
Sports director Martin Barras reaffirmed the positivity.
?It was a stunning ride from Katrin today, being able to back up the good work from the team and doing it from the front is excellent.? Barras said. ?Taking the win and the lead in the general classification is a great reward for the hard work we put in today.?
?We still have some good cards to play here, like Gracie who was excellent today and with aggression being the best form of defense we hope to continue riding well to maintain our lead.?
How it happened:
An overcast and windy start to the second stage saw a slower tempo over the first 30km than day one with an early breakaway attempt caught as the first intermediate sprint approached.
As the headwind became a crosswind towards the halfway point a second group of riders broke away including two time Australian road race champion Gracie ELVIN, who worked tirelessly today. As the group passed the 60km mark the gap had increased to two minutes and thirty seconds. Meanwhile at the back of the peloton a puncture for stage one winner Kirsten WILD left the general classification wide open.
With the wind changing direction without ever letting up the time gap of the breakaway began to decrease as the second intermediate sprint loomed on the horizon. Elvin used the momentum from the breakaway to take third place in the sprint behind the experienced Shelley OLDS.
With 40km to go a large breakaway group got clear and the pace went up a notch or two as the riders displayed excellent technical ability when battling the aggressive crosswinds. The group split in two in the final kilometres which led to the first attack by Garfoot who was followed by Elisa Lamborghini (Wiggle Honda). The move didn?t hold but the pace remained high approaching the finish.
Garfoot attacked again from a group of four riders with a little over two kilometres to go and using her formidable time trial skills powered away to the stage victory and the overall lead in the general classification. With two more stages to go ORICA-AIS now have two riders in the general classification top ten with Garfoot leading the race by 17seconds and Elvin in sixth position.
Tomorrow?s third stage from Al Zubarah Fort to Madinat Al Shamal stands at 112km and the team will be hoping for more of the same as they prepare to defend the gold jersey.