After yesterday’s opening stage success, Charlotte Kool was resplendent in the race leader’s jersey as the peloton rolled out of Al Dharfa Castle this afternoon, faced with another flat parcours. Yet, the bunch would almost immediately explode to pieces as they left the neutralised start, blowing to bits in the crosswinds. The team were alert and to the fore with Kool, Pfeiffer Georgi, Franziska Koch and Daniek Hengeveld all making the front group of 19.
Powering on, at one point their advantage was close to two minutes on the chasers but after the first intermediate sprint point the gap reduced do to a headwind and a strong chase behind. Another change of direction saw things split once more with the Team DSM quartet making now a front group of 11. Yet, once again a change of direction at 50 kilometres to go saw the peloton battle into a fierce headwind and the first chasing group would come back.
Despite a deficit that reached almost five minutes, the next group on the road which featured Esmée Peperkamp and Maeve Plouffe would also return as the peloton battled into the headwind. Ultimately the day would come down to a bunch sprint finish where the team powered forward en masse at just over one kilometre to go, with an incredible leadout train and stringing out the peloton. Peeling off one by one, Georgi was the last rider in front of Kool as they came around the closing corner and were in sight of the finish line. Launching a strong sprint, Kool managed to get up for second place as Wiebes took the win, while Georgi held on for a valiant third after her strong leadout efforts.