Former champion Wild eager to launch Qatar campaign
02 Feb 2016 - 1:40
DOHA: Experienced Dutch rider Kirsten Wild (pictured) - a four-time champion in Qatar - is eager to launch her bid for a fifth title at the Ladies Tour of Qatar starting today.
The 33-year-old rider, who skipped the event last year to train for the Track Cycling World Championships, feels ready to compete at the four-day event.
“It’s always nice to be here. I like to race here. I didn’t race this year on the road. I get energy by seeing the nice roads here. I have already started my track season. I am in the middle of the track season,” Wild said.
The Hitec Products sprint queen said the coming four days of racing in Qatar will prepare her team for the 2016 UCI World Road Cycling Championships.
“It’s good to see the course and you can feel how it will be like during the 2016 World Road Cycling Championship. You have to improve all the time,” Wild said.
“For the world championship, we will have a really good team. So that will be a good thing,” Wild said.
Wild is into her second year with Hitec Products, having signed the contract in September 2014. The Hitec Products team is based in Norway and produces systems and technologies for oilfields and drilling.
Enjoying remarkable success in her sprint career, Wild has competed for top teams like Giant-Shimano, Argos-Shimano, AA-Drink and Cervelo Test Team.
Some of her best wins have come at Tour de Pologne Feminin, Holland Ladies Tour, Omloop Het Volk, Tour du Grand Montreal, Giro d’Italia Femminile, Omloop van Borsele and GP star Roeselare, Lotto-Belisol Belgium Tour, Boels Rental Ladies Tour and Giro della Toscana Femminile.
When asked about her missed trip to Qatar last year, Wild said: “It’s true I didn’t come to Qatar last year. There was no time for me to come here because of the world track championship. I did not have the time to be here. That’s why I went there and did not make my trip to Qatar.”
Wild said Qatar remains one of her top priority races.
“I really like racing here. I don’t know why, it is my type of races. It doesn’t mean I will win again. We will see. There are many strong riders here,” Wild said.
She admitted to feeling a ‘bit of pressure’ ahead of today’s stage one start at Katara Cultural Village. The first stage ends at Qatar University after the riders complete a distance of 97.5km.
“A little bit pressure,” Wild said with a smile.
“We have a nice team with nice young girls. We haven’t raced much (but) we have a mixed bunch. There are some strong sides here,” she said.
“I hope so,” Wild said when asked about the possibility of winning her fifth title in Qatar.
“I like windy conditions. I favour windy conditions. Holland is also cold so for me it is not much of a big difference here,” she said.
Wild’s chief rival Chloe Hosking of Australia is also eyeing a good run in Qatar this week.
“I’m looking at Qatar – not as a dress rehearsal for Worlds,” Hosking said.
“I think Worlds as a one day race will be so different, but you never know. I like starting my season strong, and with the Worlds in Qatar this year, I really want to have a good showing,” the 25-year-old Wiggle HighFive rider said.
“If I start the year with a win in Qatar, it will be hard to look past me as one of Australia’s protected riders at the World Championships,” she told cyclingnews.com.