Hosking exceeds expectations at Santos Women’s Tour

Chloe Hosking exceeded expectations at the Santos Women’s Tour where she sprinted to one stage victory and two stage podiums to earn the green points classification jersey.

“It lets me know on I’m the right track,” said Hosking. “The TDU was never a target for me. To come away so successful is a really pleasant surprise. It’s definitely something that I will use to motivate my training for the next few weeks leading into the spring. I want to have some really big results in the classics, and these results in Australia show me I’m on the right track.”

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Track sprint star Anna Mears presents Hosking with the Santos Tour Down Under Points Classification trophy. Photo credit Santos Women’s Tour / Chameleon Photography

Hosking moved into the green jersey on Sunday’s stage two and scooped up points on the stage three intermediate sprints and on the finish line. She started stage four with an 18-point lead in the sprint competition over Kirsten Wild (Cylance) and Lauren Kitchen (NSWIS) but with a maximum of 22 points available on stage four, Hosking’s spot atop the sprint classification wasn’t guaranteed.

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Hosking won the third stage of the Santos Women’s Tour, extending her lead in the tours points classification. Photo credit: Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos.

“For the last stage, we wanted to hang onto Janneke [Ensing’s] second overall, my sprint jersey and go for the stage,” noted Hosking. “A stage win was always going to be difficult given that it’s another really short race. It doesn’t take the sap of the field’s legs. I’m much better when the race is harder.”

She admits that she was disillusioned before the start of the Tuesday evening final stage in Adelaide’s Victoria Park.

“I would have preferred another road race rather than what amounted to a giant hour-long scratch race,” said Hosking. “But it did offer us, my teammates and I, another opportunity to practice our lead-out a bit ahead of the European racing. I’m already seeing improvements from Sunday. We were finding each other a lot better in the peloton, and I had four of the girls with me in the last five laps. That’s really promising going forward.”

“Given how I felt about the race, coming third it was really positive,” Hosking added. “I’m looking forward to more races. It’s really exciting that the girls are so motivated in the sprints.”

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Champagne showers. Hosking celebrates her overall points classification win with the young rider winner, Alexis Ryan (Canyon SRAM). Photo credit Santos Women’s Tour / Chameleon Photography.

For Hosking, the final spot on a dedicated lead-out train is an unfamiliar place. She’s been a part of a train in the past but rarely last wheel.

“With Wiggle, I was leading out Jolien [d’Hoore] most of the time,” said Hosking. “When I got my opportunities, I was often surfing other trains. That’s not to say I didn’t have support from my team. I did – especially in La Course, the team did a lot of work up until the last two kilometres. I just never had a proper lead-out.”

When Hosking announced her move to Alé Cipollini late last (European) summer, it came as a bit of a surprise to many. Hosking was confident in her choice then and she’s even more confident in her choice now.

“I think most people will be eating their words,” she said. “I put a lot of thought into signing with the team, and I had a lot of impact on the riders that came onto the team. I think we’ve shown already in Australia that Alé Cipollini will be in the mix, and I’m really excited about that.”

“We’re not going to be a big, big team like Boels-Dolmans, but I hope we can challenge those big teams in the races with the strength of the riders that we have,” Hosking added. “It’s a bit like Moneyball. We found some really, I think, underrated riders that can have a really, really great year on a team that gives them more support and more opportunities. I’m more excited than ever to be a part of that.”

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