The Ladies Tour of Qatar is already in its seventh year and something of a flagship race for the women’s sport.
If Velocio-SRAM directeur Ronny Lauke is correct in his assertion that women’s cycling should sell itself as a unique product rather than adjunct to men’s racing, the presence of the female peloton in Doha a week before the ProTeams spoke volumes.
A high-quality field assembled for the first of the season’s races, among them Lauren Rowney, a podium finisher at the inaugural RideLondon Grand Prix. Rowney shares her race data on performance app Strava and her statistics for stage one make for interesting reading.
The flat, 111km opening stage from the Museum of Islamic Art in the capital Doha to Dukhan Beach on the west saw Rowney spin her legs at an average cadence of 89rpm – almost exactly at the 90rpm sweetspot. An average power output of 160 watts and a maxiumum of 860 gives further insight into the nature of the stage: flat, windless, and ending in a bunch sprint. Rowney finished 59th, near the front of a third group from a peloton split in the closing stages by the accelarations of Ale-Cipollini.
Rowney’s speed figures tell a story, too. An average of 40.2kph provide a more realistic indication of the terrain than the lumpy stage profile graphic. Her maximum speed – 59kph – provides further evidence of a flat stage finishing with a bunch kick. Absent are the terrifying speeds associated with vertiginous descents, while a top speed of just under 60kph speaks of a useful sprint finish.
The 26-year-old burned 1,776 calories during a fraction over two hours and forty-five minutes in the saddle, an effort that gained her a Strava ‘suffer score’ of 82. Rowney, an Australian based in Girona, started her fourth season with the various incarnations of the team now known as Velocio-SRAM by helping the squad to fourth overall in the team standings.