Pieters wins stage 2 of Ladies Tour of Qatar
Amy Pieters (Team Giant-Shimano) finished off a perfect tactical race on stage 2 of the Ladies Tour of Qatar to win the stage and take over the leader's jersey.
After Kirsten Wild (NED) won yesterday's opening stage and took the overall lead, the team were riding to protect the jersey and go for another win. The race split early on in the winds with Wild, Pieters, Julia Soek (NED) and Sara Mustonen (SWE) at the front for Team Giant-Shimano.
As the race hit crunch time the front group started to attack each other and Pieters, Soek and Mustonen took turns to cover the moves and keep Wild out of trouble before the finish.
With just over 10km to go four riders went clear including Pieters who was in policing mode, with Wild sitting safely behind knowing that Pieters was the best placed rider in the front group.
These four riders pulled out a good gap and into the final kilometre she took her opportunity and sprinted clear to take the team's second stage victory of the race and maintain their 100% win record so far in 2014.
"Today was a beautiful display of team work," said coach Ruud Verhagen (NED). "From the start a group 21 riders went clear with four of us up there, including Kirsten. They controlled it the whole race and with Amy in the final move we had everything in hand.
"We now have every jersey, both stage wins and first and second on GC - it's a dream start to the season and the ladies can be proud."
"I'm really happy to get my first win and continue the team's success here in Qatar," said a very happy Pieters after the stage. "With Kirsten behind me at the end I was allowed to sit on and wait for the sprint.
"You're always curious to see how the shape is at the start of the season but we've started really well and to get the wins early takes pressure off your shoulders. I hope we have a great year this year."
After the finish Wild said: "We were in a great situation today with lots of different cards to play, and in the end it worked out perfectly. I'm really happy for Amy."