Hosking leads Tour of Chongming Island following sprint to second on stage one
Chloe Hosking overcame a late race mechanical to finish in second place behind Kirstin Wild (Cylance) on the opening stage of the Tour of Chongming Island on Friday. The stage result combined with bonus seconds earned on intermediate sprints put Hosking atop the general classification board with two stages left to race. In additional to the yellow leader’s jersey, Hosking also earned the green points jersey as sprint classification leader.
“I wasn’t really sure where my form was coming into the race,” said Hosking. “I have to admit that I was quite nervous. When my team manager said in the meeting last night that we were racing for me in the stage, I definitely wasn’t confident. I haven’t raced since Dottignies, and I had no idea how my form would stage up against top sprinters like d’Hoore and Wild.”
Hosking’s form stacked up just fine. She won the first intermediate sprint on lap three of the 11-lap circuit and took second in the second intermediate sprint. The results, along with the accompanying bonus seconds – three for first and two for second, put Hosking at ease and buoyed her confidence level.
“We knew going into the sprints that it would be crazy hectic, and it was,” said Hosking. “This race simply isn’t selective enough to thin out the field before the sprints, which often happens in European racing. The circuit is flat, not very technical and fast.”
A big crash on the run-in to the first intermediate sprint caught out several of the big sprinters. Hoksing narrowly managed to avoid the pile-up.
“We were lucky to miss the crash,” Hosking said. “I was the first to avoid it, swerving to the right and seeing my life flash before my eyes.”
Crisis averted, Hosking steadied herself and refocused. There were still eight laps left to race. The second intermediate sprint passed without drama. Hosking headed to the finish line with five bonus seconds in hand.
Hosking found herself in a familiar position on the back of Alé Cipollini’s sprint train with the finish fast-approaching. A dropped chain with 600 metres left to race disrupted her run-in to the line.
“I actually had to stop pedalling, put it into the small chain ring to get it back on and the switch it back to the big chain ring,” Hosking explained. “I lost a fair few places and unfortunately lost my train. Luckily my teammates had done such a great job of positioning me up until that point that I was still able to make up a lot of ground quickly and finish second.
“I can take a lot from that second place because of the context,” Hosking said. “I don’t think Wild is faster than me right now. I think I was just unlucky today.”
She was lucky enough (and strong enough) to snag another six bonus seconds on the finish line. All but ten riders recorded bunch time, but Hosking bonus seconds set her apart from the rest and earned her the yellow jersey. She’ll start stage two with a one-second advantage over Wild and a seven-second advantage over compatriot Sarah Roy.
“I was really impressed by the girls today,” said Hosking. “We went in with a plan and we executed it almost perfectly. I can’t tell you what the plan was because there’s still two more stages to go – and they’re similar to today’s stage, so we’ll likely leverage today’s tactics again.”