Tour de l'Aude 2007
T-Mobile protected Judith Arndt's race leader's jersey with a spirited display of work in the peloton on Stage 4. Often a lead-out rider for sprinter, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Arndt saw the favour returned today with Teutenberg at the front of the bunch and the break, forcing the pace. The powerful German was also instrumental in driving chases of the significant breaks made by firstly Trixi Worrack and then her team-mate, Andrea Graus (Équipe Nürnberger).
Worrack managed to gain an advantage of over 40 seconds before being reeled back in by the chasing T-mobile squad. She had broken away at around the 35km point and built a solid lead before a long climb and narrow descent on the course. She created enough reaction in the bunch that it split. As Worrack's advantage increased, it became clear the selection for the stage had been made.
Once Worrack had been caught, the breakaway stayed together, although the T-Mobile team maintained the pace at the front. Teutenberg, the sprinter, slipped backwards on the final two climbs of the day, including out of the back of the breakaway group on the climb to Fanjoux. Such is her strength, that a few kilometres later, she was at the front of the group again, chasing the solo attempt by Adnrea Graus.
Graus was caught in the closing kilometres by the group. This set up a mass sprint for the win in the wide finishing straight in Castelnaudary. The sprint was fast, with many top sprinters involved. Judith Arndt seemed to be slightly ahead with 200m to go, but then the green points jersey of the World Champion, Marianne Vos began to overtake the race leader. In the final 50m, Vos came past and had time to celebrate her third stage win in the 2007 Tour de l'Aude. The young Dutchwoman gave a three-fingered (3 stage wins) wave to the photographers and the crowd and then punched the air.
Judith Arndt was second and protected her race lead. She gained some bonus seconds for finishing second, which helped to open the gap slightly on the new second-placed rider : Susanne Ljungskog (Team Flexpoint), who slipped to 18 seconds behind. Jo Kiesanowski (Raleigh) was third and moved from 8th to 6th overall.
When asked whether she was confident in retaining her yellow jersey through the race, Judith Arndt replied "The high mountain stage is tomorrow. When that is complete, we will know more."
Marianne Vos : "Another stage win may not be possible - my wheel is marked. But, I have three stage wins already!"
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