The 2015 Ladies Tour of Qatar marked the first stage race of the season for the Bigla Pro Cycling Team. The team comprised Vera Koedooder, Sharon Laws, Lotta Lepistö, Joëlle Numainville, Shelley Olds and Doris Schweizer. Unfortunately Laws broke her collarbone after crashing on the opening stage. She fought on and carried on to complete the stage in the hope it wasn't broken but unfortunately doctors confirmed the bad news and she was unable to start the next day.
The team started off well with Shelley Olds sprinting to fifth place on the opening day and thanks to winning bonus seconds earlier in the race, she placed third on the general classification. The biggest disappointment would come on stage two when a dangerous move escaped at kilometre 5 and missed representation from the team.
The move ultimately dictated the general classification for the entire race. Bigla Pro Cycling Team rallied together the next day to make amends with Olds narrowly missing out on victory to finish second. The last stage saw the leadout train get boxed in in the sprint with the end result being no noteworthy. The race was learning curve for the team and once they got over the disappointment, said they'd learnt valuable lessons and are looking forward to the next few months ahead.
I think my best memory about the tour of Qatar was that I could help Shelley in the sprints first day. In the second stage I found myself and rest of the team in the peloton while a dangerous move went up the road. We all missed that first group which went after 5 km. I think we will never do that again upcoming races.
I think one of our goals was to get know each others racing style and I think we achieved that one. We also reached one podium from stage 3 so we can't be too disappointed. Maybe we had too big goals for our first tour as a new team but I can say that we learned a lot. I think our race season started just as like bad dress rehearsal and next races are going much more better than Tour of Qatar.
I think the Ladies Tour of Qatar is a really good race to have. We are riding the same roads as the men and the media attention the event gets is great. It's nice to start season in warm weather in January.
A crash on stage one resulted in the team losing Sharon Laws
After missing the race winning move on stage 2, the team got together to chase but was unable to bring the move back
Shelley Olds came close to victory on stage 3, only to be beaten by eventual race winner Elizabeth Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans)
The famous desert winds had an effect on the race
The race was all about learning to work together for our new teammates
Despite not coming away with a victory, there were many positive points as the team was always visible in the race