Wiebes doubles up in the UAE, Consonni 2nd

Written by: Felix Mattis
Posted 2 months ago

Two days, two stage wins for Lorena Wiebes at the UAE Tour Women: The dutch sprinter was the fastest again in Madinat Zayed and completed another strong leadout from World Champion Lotte Kopecky perfectly – even though she went quite early into the headwind on the long and wide finishing straight.

“I went a little bit too early with 200 metres to go this time, but I also think I had to go. Because if they already come from behind, it’s harder to accelerate”, said to Pro Cycling Women. The rider with the highest speed on the finish line was Chiara Consonni (UAE Team ADQ), though. The Italian came closer to Wiebes in the final metres, but could not overtake the 24 year old anymore. Behind Consonni, Clara Copponi finished third for Lidl – Trek and celebrated her first podium finish with her new team.

Fourth place was Georgia Baker’s again, just like on stage one. The Liv – AlUla – Jayco sprint train accelerated strongly into the final kilometre, but could not beat the leadout of Barabara Guarischi and Kopecky in the end. With Martina Fidanza (Ceratizit – WNT), Vittoria Guazzini (FDJ – Suez) and Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Uno-X Mobility) three more Italian riders grabbed fifth, sixth and seventh place.

“It was hard to find our way out”, Wiebes said about the fight between the sprint trains for the best positions on the finishing straight of eleven kilometres. “The plan was to stay in the back as long as possible and then go to the front. But in the end it was a bit hard to find a way, especially for Lotte and me. But then she again did a really good leadout.”

With her second victory Wiebes of course kept the overall lead and her red jersey. She now leads by twelve seconds over Consonni and 16 over Rachele Barbieri (dsm-firmenich – PostNL), who finished second on stage 1, but only came in 19th in Madinat Zayed. Kopecky (+ 0’17) is fourth on General Classification now and trails five seconds ahead of all the climbers in the peloton. The World Champion collected one bonus second at an intermediate sprint on stage 1 and four more seconds at the intermediate sprints on stage 2 – which also earned her the black intermediate sprint jersey.

“I was not really hunting for this jersey, I was hunting for some seconds”, she laughed after the race, when talking to Pro Cycling Women. On Saturday the decisive stage for the General Classification will lead up to the infamous Jebel Hafeet – a 10.8 kilometre climb at 5.4%.

Whilst Wiebes defended the Red Jersey for the GC, she also extended her lead in the points classification and keeps owning the Green Jersey. On Saturday this will be worn by Consonni, who is second in the ranking. Kopecky will wear black and Yanina Kuskova (Tashkent City Team) still leads the young rider classification and is in white.

I was not really hunting for this jersey, I was hunting for some seconds

After the start in Al Mirfa Bab Al Nojoum, the peloton made a 20 kilometre loop at the coast, before it turned south into the desert. Immediately when the road opened up, cross-tailwinds hit the bunch and split it into three groups, with roughly 20 riders leading the race – with them: Wiebes, Kopecky and Barbieri. But after a front wheel puncture for Kopecky, her teammates did not co-operate anymore in the leading group and the peloton came back all together.

Daria Pikulik (Human Powered Health) won the first intermediate sprint ahead of Loes Adegeest (FDJ – Suez) and Kopecky at kilometre 62.7 and shortly after Kuskova tried to get away solo. But before the woman in white reached the second intermediate sprint at kilometre 85.4, she was already reiled back in. Kopecky then sprinted to win three more bonus seconds ahead of teammate Wiebes and Flora Perkins (Fenix – Deceuninck).

After that the peloton stayed together and raced towards the finish as one big bunch, with fierce fights for positions on the long and straight run-in towards Madinat Zayed. On the final kilometer then Megan Armitage (EF Education – Cannondale) crashed on the left side of the road, when suddenly it narrowed down again after a crossroad with no barriers. The irish rider slid into road furniture, but quickly jumped back up and came away without major injuries, as team staff confirmed to Pro Cycling Women after the race.

Whilst Armitage stood at the side of the road, the sprint for the victory began. First it was Liv – AlUla – Jayco who moved up strongly on the right, whilst SD Worx – Protime was still stuck in the bunch on the left side behind the strong Ceratizit – WNT train. But when a gap opened, Guarischi led Kopecky and Wiebes to the front and in the end that was the perfect timing to add another stage win to the palmares of Wiebes.

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