Elvin finishes sixth on stage three of the Ladies Tour of Qatar

Thu 4 Feb 2016

Stage three of the Ladies Tour of Qatar began at almost breakneck speed today, with attacks within the first few kilometres signaling an aggressive day of racing ahead.

Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic Gracie Elvin responded well and positioned herself strongly in the front group with the golden jersey of Katrin Garfoot not far behind in the second group of riders.

Sports director Martin Barras was full of praise for Elvin’s effort today.

“Great effort by Gracie today, if the house was on fire she was definitely the one who was going to be taking the furniture,” he said.

“Her instincts were impeccable throughout the stage and I claim full responsibility as I called the break wrong and advised her to go too soon. She really was brilliant today.”

The successful break saw yesterday's stage winner Katrin Garfoot lose her race lead, but Barras said there was still alot of positives.

“We knew it would be difficult to hold on to the jersey going into today’s stage but the team have been great and there are many positives," Barras said.

"Traditionally the last stage here has always finished in a bunch sprint and I don’t think tomorrow will be any different.”

 How it happened:

Strong crosswinds again played a part in the racing style with the wide, open highway making the conditions very difficult for the riders. The speed remained high throughout with 46 kilometres covered in the first hour of racing.

The first half of the race was split into three groups. The leaders maintaining a lead of around two minutes over the group of chasing riders which never really fluctuated. As the leaders entered the finishing circuit for the first lap of four, there was still a gap of two minutes between them and the much larger golden jersey group.

Each circuit covered 13kilometres and as the leading group approached the first intermediate sprint the speed increased and Elvin again showed intelligence and strength to cross the line first and take the points just in front of Anouk Koster (RaboLiv) and Lauretta Hanson (Australia).

With 36 kilometres to go Elvin’s front group held a lead of 1’51’’ over Garfoot’s golden jersey group. As the kilometres fell away on the closing circuits the wind began to create mayhem in the front group and with two laps left of the race the time gap dropped to 1’30’’ which continued to decrease as the final lap drew nearer.

As the leaders passed the second intermediate sprint Elvin attacked off the front and put the hammer down. Gaining an advantage of 14seconds almost immediately. Unfortunately after an outstanding effort, Elvin was caught with 3.5kilometres left in the race and crossed the line in sixth place behind winner Ellen Van Dijk (Boels Dolmans) and new leader of the general classification Trixi Worrack (SRAM-canyon).

After three fast and windy days of racing ORICA-AIS have Garfoot and Elvin at fourth and fifth respectively in the general classification with one more day of racing to come.

Tomorrow’s final stage is from Aspire Zone to Doha Corniche and is a short one at 73 kilometres. 

 Ladies Tour of Qatar – Stage 3 Results:

1. Ellen Van Dijk (Boels Dolmans) 2:48:56
2. Kirsten Wild (Hitech Products) 0:00:7
3. Lauretta Hanson (Australia) 0:00:07
6. Gracie Elvin (ORICA-AIS) 0:00:11

Ladies Tour of Qatar – GC after Stage 3:

1. Trixi Worrack (SRAM-Canyon) 8:15:28
2. Romy Kasper (Boels Dolmans) 00.00:17
3. Eleonora Van Dijk (Boels Dolmans) 00:00:31
4. Katrin Garfoot (ORICA-AIS) 00:00:34