Tour de l'Aude 2008
Rieux Minervois, 113km
An 8km climb provided the first shake-out of the 2008 Tour de l'Aude. An early break, containing Helen Wyman (Swift), Sigrid Corneo (Menikini Selle Italia), Monica Holler (Bigla) and Agne Bagdonaviciute (LTU) was allowed to gain a maximum of 4 minutes, prior to the summit of the Col de la Croix de Sous. The break was away for nearly half the stage, but with riders aware that the last 2 km of the climb were at 15%, there was always the feeling that the stage would be formed on the HC climb.
It was Susanne Ljungskog (Menikini Selle Italia) who attacked and made the formative move. She went, followed by Trixi Worrack (Équipe Nürnberger), Judith Arndt (High Road) and Sharon Laws (GBR). Just behind them and in front of the main group were : Nicole Cooke (GBR), Claudia Hausler (Équipe Nürnberger), Amber Neben (USA), Christine Thorburn (Webcor), Carla Ryan (AUS) and Luise Keller (High Road). Much of the work to try to catch the front group was done by Thorburn, Ryan and Neben (they did not have team-mates in the break). However, when the word went to Laws to stop working as the race reached the wider and flatter roads after the descent, Cooke jumped and managed to bridge across to the leaders.
Laws was allowed just a short breather, though. She was soon in action again, as lead-out to Cooke in the sprint. With 75 metres remaining, Cooke was evident at the front, whilst the others chased. It was Trixi Worrack who came closest to the British Road Champion, with second place, then on the outside of the group, Susanne Ljungskog sprinted in ahead of Judith Arndt to take third. With Katie Mactier (AUS), the race leader, back in the bunches, she took the race lead.
A few seconds later Claudia Hausler led in Keller and Ryan, enough for her to move into the Young Rider competition lead. The Americans, Neben and Thorburn trailed in together, obviously tired from their chase activities just a few kilometres up the road.
Susanne Ljungskog "This stage was a really hard one, I looked at it and I thought I had a good chance to take this jersey. And I did it and I'm really happy – good job!"
Nicole Cooke "I didn't come looking for the (overall) classification. This is my first Tour de l'Aude and I'm happy to win the stage."
Results - Top 10 - click here to see full result
1 Nicole Cooke (GBR)
2 Trixi Worrack (Équipe Nürnberger)
3 Susanne Ljungskog (Menikini Selle Italia)
4 Judith Arndt (High Road)
5 Sharon Laws (GBR)
General Classification Top 10 - click here to see full GC
1 Susanne Ljungskog (Menikini Selle Italia) 3.20.04
2 Nicole Cooke (GBR) 0.02
3 Judith Arndt (High Road) 0.06
4 Trixi Worrack (Équipe Nürnberger 0.16
5 Sharon Laws (GBR) 0.17
6 Amber Neben (USA) USA 0.48
7 Christine Thorburn (Webcor) 0.52
8 Claudia Hausler (Équipe Nürnberger) 1.00
9 Luise Keller (High Road) 1.03
10 Carla Ryan (AUS) 1.11
Photos Click on any image to enlarge >>
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