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Bronzini takes second place in Tour of Qatar Stage one bunch sprint

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini sprinted to second place at the end of the opening stage of the 2015 Ladies’ Tour of Qatar, between the Museum of Islamic Art in the capital, Doha, and Dukhan Beach. The former two-time Road World Champion was led into the finishing straight by her black and orange teammates, but just beaten to the line by Alé-Cipollini’s Annalisa Cucinotta, with Cucinotta’s teammate Marta Tagliaferro finishing third.

“It was a simple stage with a tailwind, so Chloe [Hosking] was going for the intermediate sprints with Jolien [D’hoore] in support,” Bronzini explained. “In the final the all the girls were there to do the lead out and, and at 500m to go Chloe was pulling with Jolien in her wheel.

“I tried to go out next to the barriers but I had no space enough so I must go around one rider and do my sprint,” she continued. “But Cucinotta came from the back really fast! She is fast!

“I’m a little bit disappointed that we didn’t get the victory, because everybody worked really hard for me,” she added. “But it was a great job from the team because it was the first time that we have raced together!”

The 98km stage made its way across the Qatar peninsular from the Eastern side, all the way across to the West coast, but was almost bereft of the strong desert wind that typically dominates the race. With far calmer conditions than usual, the peloton stayed together until the first intermediate sprint, at Al Rufaa Street after 28km where Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s two-time race podium finisher Chloe Hosking took second place behind Bigla’s Shelley Olds.

Despite an average speed of 43kph in the first hour Jiang Xiu Jie (China Chongming-Liv) managed to escape the peloton alone shortly after the sprint. The Chinese rider was allowed to get more than minute clear, and managed to stay away long enough to take the second sprint, in Al Uwaynah after 69km. With Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling among the teams leading the peloton in pursuit, however, her solo effort was all over shortly afterwards.

Time bonuses on the line also put Bronzini in second place in the general classification, just four seconds behind Cucinotta. With the Alé-Cipollini in the race leader’s Gold Jersey, Bronzini will wear the silver Points Jersey in tomorrow’s second stage.

Result stage 1
1. Annalisa Cucinotta (Alé-Cipollini)
2. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
3. Marta Tagliaferro (Alé-Cipollini)

Photo credit: Dion Kerckhoffs

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