By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright AFP2001
Canadian Lyne Bessette held on to her overall lead in the Tour de L’Aude as AutoTrader.com’s Sarah Ulmer won eighth stage of the French stage race.
A break of 10 riders escaped the field at the halfway point of the 122km stage between Limoux and Espéraza. None of the escapees posed a threat to Bessette’s grip on the overall lead. The American Autotrader team had two of its riders in the break – Ulmer and the team’s new recruit Katrina Berger.
Berger attacked as the lead group — now down to eight riders — reached the final finishing circuit. With her teammate ahead, Ulmer sat on as the group chased Berger. Ulmer, too, tried an escape, but that was also neutralized, so the two worked together going into the final sprint. Berger gave Ulmer a strong lead out, allowing the New Zealander to take the win.
The race finishes Sunday with a 120-kilometer circuit starting and finishing in Limoux.
1 Sarah Ulmer (NZl), Autotrader.com, 3:34:10 (33.33 kph); 2. Tatiana Stiajkina (Ukr), Alfa Lum; 3. Heidi Van De Vijver (B),Vlaanderen; 4. Olga Zabelinskaia (Rus) Carpe Diem – Itera; 5. Sandy Espeseth (Can), Canadian National Team; 6. Cybil Diguistini (Can) C.A Mantes La Ville; 7. Fany Lecourtois (F) Alfa Lum; 8. Katrina Berger (USA) Autotrader.com, all s.t.;9. Olga Slioussareva (Rus) Carpe Diem – Itera, at 1:41; 10. Valentina Karpenko (Ukr) Ciegi, s.t.