Hosking Sprints to Seventh at the Doha UCI Road World Championships
Chloe Hosking has been dreaming of rainbows since the 2016 UCI Road World Championships were awarded to Doha, Qatar three years ago.
Sprint friendly courses don’t come along often, and Hosking knew that the winning a world title in the Qatari desert might present her only opportunity to pull on the coveted rainbow jersey.
“I wasn’t quiet about it,” Hosking said. “I went in wanting the rainbows.”
The 26-year-old has been laying the foundation for her bid for the world title since October of last year.
A severed tendon in July 2015 cut Hosking’s season short. She returned to her native Canberra for surgery and rehabilitation. The injury proved a blessing in disguise. It allowed her to begin her targeted training ahead of her normal schedule.
She sacrificed results in the spring for the single-mindedness pursuit of a gold medal and rainbow jersey in Doha in the fall.
Despite – or perhaps because of – this focus, Hosking recorded some of the most important results of her career. She added stage wins at Ladies Tour of Qatar, La Tour de France, Tour of Chongming Island and the Giro Rosa to her palmares. She sprinted to victory on the Champs-Elysess at La Course by Le Tour de France. She won the Tour of Chongming Island overall.
One month out from the World Championships, she finished second to her teammate at Madrid Challenge. She won GP Beghelli two weeks later.
Hosking had put in the hard work. Her results were a clear indicator of her form. It earned her the full backing of Australia’s seven-rider squad.
When Hosking stood on the start line on Saturday morning, she was the team’s outright leader and the only card they wanted to play.
“I had the whole team behind me,” said Hosking.
“I had such great support from all six of the girls and all the Australian staff, my family, my coach, my partner. And then in the end, I didn’t finish it off.”
Hosking managed seventh place in the bunch sprint won by Denmark’s Amalie Dideriksen. A top ten finish at the UCI Road World Championships is nothing to sneer at, but when gold is the goal, anything less feels underwhelming.
“Obviously I’m super disappointed in my performances, but I’m so proud of how the girls rode and represented Australia,” said Hosking.
“They really went in and were so behind me as a leader, and I’m so, so grateful that I had the opportunity to race for the world title.”
The race unfolded as predicted and as Australia hoped it might. Eri Yonamine (Japan) threw down the first attack and slipped away solo. Alone out front, Yonamine time trialled with a small advantage over the field until Nicole Hanselmann (Switzerland) bridged across to provide some company. The duo held a maximum advantage of 50-seconds over the peloton.
Nearing the end of lap two, Amy Pieters (Netherlands) launched an attack that signalled the intent of the Dutch team and spelled the end of the breakaway.
With 70 kilometres remaining, the early escape rejoined the peloton as the Dutch continued to apply pressure in the form of unrelenting attacks. The Australians found allies in the Germans, Belgians, British and Americans, all of whom were united in their efforts to keep the dangerous Dutch riders within the peloton.
When the elastic finally broke, it was an American rather than a Dutch rider that managed to slip away. Newly crowned time trial world champion Amber Neben stretched out her advantage to nearly a minute over the peloton before Australia put Sarah Roy, Loren Rowney and Kat Garfoot on the front to control the chase. Their work ensured Neben’s catch before the bell lap.
A fresh wave of attacks kept the pace high at the start of the final lap, but a show of force by the Dutch contingent on the front of the peloton injected a sense of control. Seven Dutch riders formed a train heading into the final five kilometres, which eliminated the chance for further escape.
Kirsten Wild (Netherlands) launched her sprint off the Dutch train only to be caught by Dideriksen on the line. The Danish youngster took the sprint by a bike throw. Hosking slotted into seventh place.
“Seventh is not what we came here for, but it’s what we got,” said Hosking. “It’s not the last bike race we’ll ever race.”
“I’m probably going to go back to Spain and lick my emotional wounds,” Hosking added.
“I signed for next year with Alé Cipollini. I’m going to come back hopefully stronger next season. I don’t know if I’ll ever have a run at the rainbows but there are other races to win.”