Emma Pooley (Cérvelo TestTeam) leads the Tour de l’Aude Cycliste Féminin by a healthy margin of 2:03 after six of nine stages.

Emma Pooley (Cérvelo TestTeam) leads the Tour de l’Aude Cycliste Féminin by a healthy margin of 2:03 after six of nine stages. A strong Stage 2 team time trial effort from Pooley’s Cérvelo squad provided much of her lead.

The l’Aude, the longest running UCI event on the women’s calendar, attracts the top talent of the international women’s field. The race winds its way through France’s south-central Aude province, challenging racers with a variety of terrain over 10 days and 875.3KM, including 18 categorized climbs.

The U.S. National Team and U.S.-based Team TIBCO are contesting l’Aude this year. American Evelyn Stevens is racing as part of her HTC-Columbia squad.

North American women have found success at the race in the past: Amber Neben won in 2005 and 2006 riding for Team Flexpoint, and Kristin Armstrong, now retired, took third in 2005. Canadian Lynne Bessette is also a two-time winner, taking the 1999 and 2001 editions, and placing second in 2003.

This year, American women are continuing that trend. Brooke Miller (TIBCO), Carmen Small (U.S. National Team), and Stevens (HTC-Columbia) have all found their way on to the podium. Miller has held the red sprint points jersey since a long breakaway on Stage 1. The U.S. National Team kept its riders in the hunt for a top GC position with a strong team time trial in stage 3, placing 4th at 2:01. Team TIBCO came in just behind, in 5th at 2:43.

Mara Abbott (U.S. National Team) won the 4th stage out of a two-woman break with current leader Pooley,. The two attacked out of a six rider break that had gone away earlier in the mountains, working together all the way to the line.

Katheryn Mattis (U.S. National Team) took stage 5th in a finish marred by course confusion. The two lead riders, Marianne Voss (Nederland Bloeit) and Annemiek Van Vleuten (Nederland Bloeit), were misdirected just a few kilometers from the finish, allowing third place on the road Mattis to cruise to the win. Mattis took 1:25 out of Pooley on the day, and now sits in fourth overall, 2:49 behind the leader.

Racers faced a relatively flat 100KM loop in near Castelnaudary in Stage 6, but a breakaway shuffled the GC once again. Ina Teutenberg (HTC-Columbia) took victory as Annemiek Van Vleuten(Nederland Bloeit) and Regina Bruins (Cérvelo TestTeam) used the opportunity to jump into second and third on GC.

Stage 7 will send the peloton over 105km in the mountains, from Limoux to Roquefueil. The route includes four categorized climbs, including the 1231 meter Hors Categorie Col de Dent, and will likely be the last opportunity to put any serious time into rivals before two rolling stages to finish off the Tour.

Brief Results

Complete Results

Prologue:

Stage 1:

Stage 2 TTT:

Stage 3:

Stage 4:

Stage 5:

Stage 6:

Current GC:

  • 1. Emma POOLEY (GBR) Cervelo Test Team in 15:24:22
  • 2. Annemiek VAN VLEUTEN (NED) Nederland Bloeit at 2:03
  • 3. Regina BRUINS (NED) Cervelo Test Team at 2:43
  • 4. Katheryn CURI MATTIS (USA) U.S. National Team at 2:49
  • 5. Emma JOHANSSON (SWE) Red Sun Cycling Team at 3:13