Hosking sprints to first win of the season at Santos Women’s Tour

Chloe Hosking proved fastest in a two-women drag race to win the third stage of the Santos Women’s Tour. The victory in Lyndoch on Monday solidified Hosking’s hold on the sprint leader’s jersey that she earned following her third-place finish on stage two.

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Photo credit: Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos

“It’s only January, but to start off with a win already this early in the season is really great, especially for the Cipollini team,” said Hosking. “I asked Fortunato [Lacquaniti], our manager, when he said we were coming to these races, knowing I wouldn’t be in form: ‘What do you think?’ and he said: ‘A stage win would do.’”

To secure the stage, Hosking managed to survive two times up the kilometre-long Whispering Wall. Thirty-seven riders formed a selection over the top of the second ascent, Hosking suffered her way up alongside new teammates Janneke Ensing and Carlee Taylor.

“When we came to the climb the first time, I was fairly sure that it was going to stay together,” said Hosking. “I told Janneke and Carlee not to be on the front because even a kilometre faster on a hill is hard for me. I told them to keep it easy on the climb so that they could stay with me and bring it back if needed. As it turned out, I got over the climb and I think then it was a waiting game between Wild and I.”

That’s Kirsten Wild (Cylance), who won Sunday’s stage two, a 40-minute circuit race in Adelaide’s East End. The pair have gone head-to-head for years. Hosking got the better of the Dutchwoman on Monday.

“She was following my wheel, and then she found her teammates and I jumped on her wheel,” Hosking said. “I learned my lesson from Worlds. I followed her wheel and I didn’t let anyone on it.”

Wild opened her sprint 175 metres from the finish. Hosking powered over her, and celebrated across the line.

“It was a straight out drag sprint,” noted Hosking. “She’s really hard to beat in sprints like that. That I could come off her wheel and come around her is a big confidence boost. I’ve done that before but not very often.”

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Photo credit: Kirsty Baxter

“I’m really happy,” Hosking added. “This is a lot more reminiscent of real road race, a 93 kilometre stage, rather than a 40-minute criterium.”

Whilst Hosking’s stage win offered the biggest cause for celebration amongst the Alé Cipollini team on Monday, it was only one of a handful of objectives she and her teammates achieved.

“We wanted to keep the sprint jersey and the QOM jersey,” said Hosking. “Obviously the most important thing was keeping Janneke second overall.”

Ensing won both QOM primes to officially move into the polka-dot jersey she had been wearing on loan from Amanda Spratt and finished in the front group to maintain second overall. Hosking added a whopping twenty points to her sprint classification total and leads the competition by 18 points over both Wild and Lauren Kitchen (NSWIS).

“We’re only three days into our season, and I think we’ve exceeded all expectations – a second on the first day, a third yesterday and the two jerseys (well, so far) and the stage win,” said Hosking. “It was great teamwork all through the race. We’re all happy with that.”

Thirty-two points are up for grabs in the final stage criterium on Tuesday evening where Hosking will aim to keep the green sprint jersey. The course is sprinter-friendly, and Hosking’s stage three win puts her squarely among the final stage contenders.

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