Tour de l'Aude 2010
Stage 4 - Abbott and Pooley double to victory and race lead
Osseja 97 km
Mara Abbott (USA) won stage 4 in the sprint between her and Emma Pooley (Cervelo Test Team). Pooley goes into a 2 minutes 34 second lead on general classification after the pair broke away on the climb to the finish from the lead group. Evelyn Stevens (HTC Columbia) crossed the line in third 43 seconds back.
The 4th stage had to cover three big climbs in the eastern Pyrenees. It always promised to be a tough race that would upset the general classification. On the first climb, US National Team's Katheryn Mattis-Curi attacked after 11km of racing, but she was caught at Font-Romeu just 16km later. Mattis was joined by a group that included three Cervelo Test Team riders, Regina Bruins, Sharon Laws and Pooley. Emma Johansson (RedSun), Stevens (HTC-Columbia) and Abbott (USA) also bridged the gap.
They were quickly joined to create a leading of 15 riders. Claudia Häusler and Carla Ryan (Cervélo), Trixi Worrack (Noris), Annemiek van Vleuten (Nederland Bloiet) and Ruth Corset (Tibco) joined the group first followed by Andrea Bosman (Leontien.nl), Edwige Pitel (Michela Fanini) and Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Vienna-Futuroscope).
The chase group which included the yellow jersey Adrie Visser (HTC Columbia) were 58 seconds back. As the leaders reached the descent of the Col du Calvaire, Pooley, was on the front of Stevens and Abbott. The gap increased to 50 seconds after 50 km.
As the leaders approached the Col de Creu. Johansson and Laws lost touch in the last kilometer of this rise and passed to 15” of Pooley, Abbott and Stevens. In the descent, Laws missed a turn and Johansson only drove out, behind the trio which disaggregated in its turn in the rise of the col de la Llose. Pooley from went away only, continued at a few seconds by Abbott and Stevens, with a dozen seconds. To wear, Abbott returned on Pooley and crossed the collar at the head, with Pooley in its wake. Stevens passed to 34”, Johansson was to 1 ' 58”, Laws with 2 ' 32” and the group, tiny room to 20 competitors and conduit by Ferrier-Bruneau, conceded 5 '. In spite of its efforts, Stevens did not manage to return on Pooley and Abbott, which were explained to the sprint with Osséja, with advantage with Abbott, faster than Pooley. Stevens 3rd emerged to 43”, Johansson with 1 ' 57”, Laws with 3 ' 05”. The avant-garde of the group, regulated by Your (6th) in front of Häusler and Ferrier-Bruneau, had approached to 3 ' 15”.
Emma Pooley (Cervelo Test Team) enjoyed a time loss swing of the pendulum right in her favour, to the tune of 2 minutes 34 seconds, with five stages remaining. "I am very happy today. It is always great to be in the leader's jersey of Tour de l'Aude," said Pooley. "So far I have a good gap over Adrie Visser. We still have some races to go, and something can always happen but I am confident."
Egon van Kessel (Cervelo TestTeam Sport Director) enjoyed the days racing. The attack by Pooley and Abbot came from a six rider breakaway that escaped during the mountains. Pooley had the advantage of having team-mates Sharon Laws and Regina Bruins in the breakaway with her and Abbott. "It was a nice day today, we had sun, no wind and now as well the yellow jersey," said . "The peloton with our other riders reached the finish about 3:20 later so there are still five of our riders in a good overall position. Our team is in a comfortable position for the upcoming stages."
General Classification Top 10 - click here to see full GC
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