UAE, Hatta, Wednesday February 19th 2020 – Belarus’s Tatsiana Sharakova claimed stage and general classification honours by outlasting the pack up the final climb on the third and penultimate day of the Dubai Women’s Cycle Tour.
The General Authority for Sports third stage featured four climbs as riders headed into the picturesque Hatta Mountains. The 17 international teams started from Wadi Hatta Park and finished a gruelling 90km later.
It was climbing from the get-go up the dreaded Generator Hill with the Agolico BMC team making the early moves, but ultimately Sharakova prevailed, powering up the final ascent to the finish at the spectacular Hatta Dam.
The Minsk Cycle Club rider also claimed a second place finish in stage one meaning she’ll be wearing the overall leader’s red jersey in tomorrow’s final stage which takes place back in Dubai.
Colombian Daniela Atehortua Hoyos (Colnago CM Team) reached the finish in second spot with stage one winner Lucy van der Haar (Hitec Products - Birk Sports) surprising even herself with a podium finish in third.
“I knew it was going to be hard today. If I’m completely honest I thought I’d be dropped,” admitted Van der Haar, who is better known for her sprinting prowess.
“Over the winter I’ve worked quite a lot on nutrition to make sure I was ready for the Classics so this shows that if I put my mind to it I can do a hard course. These climbs, especially the finishing climb, were more about power so actually as a sprinter, if I can see the top then I can give it full gas. I just tried to position myself as well as possible.”
The Briton explained the team tactics for the day. “My team tried to set a hard pace on the climbs which could potentially have dropped me, but the ultimate goal was to try and get the red jersey for anyone in the team. If it meant dropping me and someone else getting it then that’s what we were ready to do.
“I just tried to hang on for as long as possible. I felt really good today so I’m really happy,” added the double junior world road race champion, who is married to Dutch cyclo-cross star Lars van der Haar.
Sharakova holds a slender four-second general classification lead over Van der Haar heading into tomorrow’s fourth and final Dubai Health Authority stage, and there’s an 11-second gap to Team UAE’s stage two winner Samah Khaled, making for a thrilling finale.
“It feels good to have the red jersey on the final stage. We will do our best to keep it and take it away with us,” said a thrilled Sharakova after her stage win.
Meanwhile, Britain’s Annabel Fisher (Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team) assumed the pink jersey for the best climber while 20-year-old Atehortua Hoyos takes over the white jersey for the best young rider (under-23).
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.
The fourth and final Dubai Health Authority stage will once again take the teams back to the city, with the start and finish at Dubai Festival City. Riders will take a looping course around the Dubai Creek and through the traditional downtown area of the city before the first ever Dubai Women’s Cycle Tour champion will be crowned 112km later at the finish