Dubai, UAE, Tuesday February 18th 2020 – UAE fans were given plenty to celebrate when Samah Khaled motored to a memorable victory in the second stage of the inaugural Dubai Women’s Cycle Tour on home soil.
As expected, the flat 106.45km Dubai Duty Free second stage came down to a sprint finish. Khaled was well wide of the bunch heading to the final metres, but had the legs to power past stage one winner Lucy van der Haar for a thrilling home victory.
Van de Haar was second with Belgian Kim de Baat (Team Ciclotel) in third.
Riders from the 17 international teams competing in the first ever Dubai Women’s Cycle Tour set off on the second stage from Dubai Festival City. The fast and flat course then took them past Dragon Mart shopping precinct, down Al Qudra Road, past Studio City, and on to the finish at the Springs Souk over 100km later.
Team UAE’s coach Ibrahim Al Falamazri explained how the day’s stage unfolded.
“The plan was to keep all the teams under our control. So from the beginning we started attacking, but just a fake attack to let the teams know that we were there,” he said.
“The first sprint didn’t go so well for us but we got the second one and the third one we came second and third so we knew the green jersey was with us and we could rest until the end.”
“We had one crash, Annemiek Stegehuis fell down but she’s strong. All the Netherlands riders are very strong so she got back. She did well and she was fresh. They did everything I told them and they finished it with Samah,” he added of his star rider who works as a Dubai Police trainer and also picked up top honours in the individual road race at the last Pan-Arab Games in Doha.
Meanwhile, Khaled’s teammate Stegehuis explained: “The plan was always to get Samah into a position where she could get onto the back of a train with one km to go and then if we did that she would be able to contest for the stage win.
“In the last 500m it funnelled down into the sprint. The peloton went to the right so we kept Samah on the left as the wind was pushing from left to right. So she came in from wide and charged down just on the inside of the barrier and went for the line.”
The win means Khaled will assume the overall leader’s red jersey heading into the third stage after also finishing on the podium in yesterday’s opening stage. Minsk Cycling Club’s Hanna Tserakh from Belarus will assume the white jersey for the best young rider (under-23). She’s fifth in the general classification behind Khaled (Team UAE), Van der Haar (Hitec Products-Birk Sports), Tatsiana Sharakova (Minsk Cycling Club) and Kathrin Schweinberger (Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport).
The four-stage event is taking place under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Hind Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, managed by the UAE Cycling Federation, and supported by the Dubai Sports Council.
After two sprint stages the climbers in the pack will be champing at the bit for tomorrow’s General Authority for Sports third stage. It will certainly be one for the climbers as riders venture out of the city and into the picturesque Hatta Mountains. The teams will start from Wadi Hatta Park and finish 90km later at the spectacular Hatta Dam.