DOHA -- Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products-UCK) created a busy night for herself at Doha's Ritz-Carlton by winning the Ladies Tour of Qatar's first stage.
"I study journalism," she told VeloNews. "I help with writing the team's press releases."
She would be sitting in her room on this night, writing about how she won the stage to Mesaieed to kick off the three-day race. The Aussie escaped in a group of 20 riders nearly 32 kilometers into the 97km opening leg of the ladies' tour. The wind failed to break the race, so it was left to a few strong teams to create cracks in the peloton. Specialized-lululemon, Wiggle-Honda and MCipollini-Giordana all flexed their muscles. Hosking made the group and then the late split with three others to contest the stage.
"When the gap got bigger and bigger, I knew that it was a good move," Hosking said. "I was able to hold it and finally get a win. I have had a few podium places [in Qatar], but this is my first win."
She also took the leader's golden jersey, presented by the president of the cycling federation, Sheikh Khalid Bin Ali Al Thani.
Gracie Elvin (Orica-AIS) was second, Lisa Brennauer (Specialized) third and Liesbeth De Vocht (Rabo Women) fourth. The chase group came through 10 seconds later.
Hosking and other women in cycling have to think ahead for life after competition. British star Emma Pooley complained of the problem late last year, saying an equally skilled man wouldn't need to worry about life after he hangs up his wheels. Pooley is completing her PhD and riding for the Bigla team in 2013, veteran Rochelle Gilmore is a manager/rider at Wiggle, and Hosking is studying journalism and winning races.
"It's definitely preparation for the spring," said Hosking, 22. "My preparation is geared up to the spring races like Het Nieuwsblad and the Drentse 8 races. Hopefully this is just a step in that direction."
Later, talking to VeloNews, she added, "[Qatar] is a way to get speed in the legs, as well, especially since a lot of the Euros are doing long Ks in the winter. Australians are a little bit different because of the weather and the summer races. I had a bit of a Euro-prep this year, and this is good for the speed."
Hosking won the Dutch one-day classic, the Drentse 8 last year. She also placed 12th in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Before Qatar, she trained in Girona, Spain, and Nice, France, to be ready for Qatar and a return to her favorite classics.
The Sheikh created the women’s version of the Tour of Qatar in 2009 to help encourage locals and show off his country as a diverse nation in the Middle East. Eddy Merckx, who helps run the race, says no other women’s stage race sits side-by-side a men’s stage race so comfortably. The men arrive Friday and start racing the 12th edition of their tour Sunday.