Armitstead clinches Ladies Tour of Qatar

Another windy day in Doha serves up a sprint finish that's won by Armitstead, whose two consecutive victories confirm her GC title

Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) became the first British rider to win the Ladies Tour of Qatar on Friday. She clinched her overall title by winning stage 4 in Doha, out-sprinting Chloe Hosking (Wiggle-Honda), who was second, and Barbara Guarischi (Velocio-SRAM), who finished third.

The peloton faced strong winds on the final stage of the seventh edition of the Ladies Tour of Qatar, a 101.5km stage that began at Sealine Beach Resort.

A fairly strong headwind buffeted the field in the early going. Despite a few breakaway attempts, the pack remained together to the first intermediate sprint. Led out by her Boels-Dolmans squad, Armitstead proved to be the fastest to the line, gaining three seconds on GC, while Hosking had to settle for second ahead of Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS).

China’s Xiu Jie Jiang (China Chongming-Liv) managed to escape after the first sprint. Her gap reached 55 seconds near the stage’s halfway mark and maxed out at 1:35. However, just before the penultimate lap of the day’s circuit around Doha, Jiang was caught.

Hosking claimed maximum points in the day’s second and final bonus sprint, moving her back within eight seconds of her overall rival, Armitstead.

But in the final sprint, there wasn’t much that Hosking, or anyone could do against Armitstead and the Boels-Dolmans team. By claiming her second consecutive stage win, Armitstead confirmed her overall victory in the Ladies Tour of Qatar. She won the GC title with a 12-second advantage over Hosking and 22 seconds over teammate Ellen Van Dijk.

As well as the golden leader’s jersey, Armitstead also claimed the silver jersey (points classification), while Beatrice Bartelloni (Alé-Cipollini) won best young rider award. Wiggle-Honda claimed the title of best team.