By Mark Etheridge
Our Cherise Taylor bounced back to a gritty (quite literally) 11th spot on day two of the Ladies Tour of Qatar on Thursday.
After a rude awakening on day one where she was caught unawares by the sheer pace, Taylor dug deep in the desert nation and would have been a lot happier going into Friday’s final stage.
Thursday’s stage was 114.5 kilometres between Al Zubara Fort and Madinat Al Shamal and the victory went to Germany’s Trixi Worrack, riding for Team Specialized Lululemon. She clocked 3hr 05min 37sec, the same time credited to runner-up and compatriot Judith Arndt of the GreenEdge-AIS team.
Taylor, riding for the Lotto Belisol Ladies outfit, crossed the line 2min 51sec off the pace.
Telling Road to London 2012 about her race Taylor said she’d had thought after Wednesday’s windy stage that saw sandstorms blasting the field that the second stage could only get better. That was not to be and any illusions were blown away early.
“I was in for a surprise. On the way to the race we went through another sandstorm and realised that today would be another tough day in the office. We started off with a tail side wind and the girls went flat out from the word go. The bunch split really quickly and I was sitting a bit too far back and missed the front group. After a really hard chase we caught the first bunch around 30km and had an average speed of 54km/h.
“Then we turned… and we now had a head/side wind and with nine girls up the road the pace was still on. We turned after about 45km into a really strong side wind and we all really struggled to keep our bikes on the road (most of the girls couldn’t).”
The main group then continued to split into smaller bunchers with about 30 of the girls chasing the nine-strong breakaway. “We made contact with the front girls with 20km to go and immediately the counter attacks started. I hung on for life and death. Judith [Arndt] and Trixi [Worrack] broke clear with Kirsten Wild and Adri Visser on their heels. We were now racing for fifth place.
“I know I’m not once of the fastest sprinters so I tried going with some of the attacks however nothing went clear. It came down to the sprint and I managed to get 11th place. It’s still early season and with this being my first international race since World Champs I’m pretty happy with how the form is coming is along. I’m really hoping for the wind to die down a bit though.”
A total of 87 riders completed the second stage and Taylor moved up to 32nd on the General Classification, a climb of 26 places. Friday’s final stage is a 92.5km ride from Katara Cultural Village.