Tour de l'Aude 2010

Skip Madness

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The Tour de l'Aude gets underway tomorrow (Friday). I posted the route details up in a thread a while ago, so I'll paste that in here and add the stage profiles (although they're not great because they aren't scaled well):

The prologue individual time trial in Gruissan is 3.9km and flat:

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Stage one is the longest of the race (117km), and is pretty much made for the sprinters:

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Stage two will begin to develop the GC. It's a team time trial, and a pretty decisive one at 34.5km:

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Stage three sees a couple of second category climbs tackled half-way through a stage which otherwise shouldn't worry the sprinters:

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Stage four, starting and finishing in Osseja, is where things get interesting as the climbing begins:

Chaos de Targassone (uncategorised) - 6.9km at 4.9% (finishes with 82km to go)
Col de Calvaire (hors category) - 2.0km at 11.3% (68km to go)
Col de Creu (hors category) - 3.0km at 6.8% (44km to go)
Col de la Llose (hors category) - 10.0km at 4.3% (30km to go)

Yeah, they shouldn't be hors category climbs, but we're used to that with the Tour de l'Aude by now. A nice little chain, though. And on top of that, although uncategorised, the final four kilometres are a gentle uphill run (2-3%) which could invite late attacks:

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Stage five features more climbs. The first is the most severe, but the latter two could provoke a bit of damage:

Col de Corsavy (first category) - 7.0km at 7.4% (95km to go)
Col Xatard (first category) - 20.0km at 2.6% (38km to go)
Côte de la Borne (second category) - 5.5km at 3.1% (3.5km to go)

That final climb isn't much to shout about in and of itself, but coming so close to the end (and at a point when the group should have been quite depleted by the first two climbs) it's not the worst way of setting up a good finish:

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Stage six is more like breakaway material, I think - the very steep Fanjeaux comes about 30km from the end, but most of the favourites should find each other on the way home if they lose touch on the climb:

Côte de Fanjeaux (second category) - 2.5km at 10.4% (28km to go)
Côte Puy de Faucher (second category) - 2.0km at 3.5% (17km to go)

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Stage seven looks to be the toughest on paper, with the Dent certainly appearing to be the most decisive climb:

Col du Portel (first category) and Col de Coudens (second category) (classified separately but basically the same climb) - 13.5km at 4.4% (67km to go)
Col de Dent (hors category) - 14.0km at 5.8% (26km to go)
Côte d'Espezel (second category) - 2.9km at 7.2% (5km to go)

The remaining five kilometres after the Espezel are flat. Coming late in the day, off the back of the Col de Dent, and having a fairly sharp gradient for its admittedly short duration, the Côte d'Espezel could split apart any riders still together:

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Stage eight
is a little more serene. The Col du Font de Razouls might kick a few off of the back, but shouldn't be of much significance with 50 mostly flat kilometres still remaining, and a bunch sprint (or at least a partial bunch sprint) isn't out of the equation:

Col du Font de Razouls (first category) - 8.8km at 4.0% (50km to go)
Côte de Villardebelle (third category) - 1.0km at 8.0% (40km to go)

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Stage nine finishes the race with a turn in the countryside and a couple of climbs of little importance before five laps in the beautiful walled city of Carcassonne for the sprinters to fight over:

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Team GB were down to ride, but the recent training accident put paid to that. There was a rumour that Nicole Cooke would ride this race in the colours of MTN, but she's not on the start list. Here are the teams, with the main riders to look out for:

Cervélo: Claudia Häusler, Lizzie Armitstead, Regina Bruins, Sharon Laws, Emma Pooley, Carla Ryan
Noris: Trixi Worrack, Angela Hennig
Nederland Bloeit:: Marianne Vos, Loes Gunnewijk, Annemiek van Vleuten
RedSun: Emma Johansson, Ludivine Henrion, Emma Silversides
Lotto: Grace Verbeke, Vicki Whitelaw
HTC: Ina Teutenberg, Chloe Hosking, Luise Keller, Evelyn Stevens, Linda Villumsen
Valdarno: Tatiana Guderzo, Tatiana Antoshina, Marta Vilajosana
Tibco: Ruth Corset, Brooke Miller
United States: Mara Abbott, Carmen Small
Leontien: Chantal Blaak, Andrea Bosman
Fenixs: Svetlana Bubnenkova
Gauss: Martine Bras, Julia Martisova, Edita Pucinskaite
Safi: Rasa Leleivyte, Eneritz Iturriagaechevarria
Michela Fanini: Edwige Pitel, Carly Hibberd
MTN: Trine Schmidt, Carla Swart
Germany: Lisa Brennauer, Hanka Kupfernagel, Martina Zwick
Vienne Futuroscope: Christel Ferrier-Bruneau, Julie Beveridge, Audrey Cordon
ESGL 93: Béatrice Thomas, Mélanie Bravard

Besides Nicole Cooke, other notable absentees are Kirsten Wild and Giorgia Bronzini.

Anyone want to embarrass themself with a prediction:

I'll go:

GC: (1) Claudia Häusler (2) Evelyn Stevens (3) Tatiana Guderzo
Points: Marianne Vos
Mountains: Mara Abbott
Young rider: Lizzie Armitstead
Hot spots: NO-ONE CARES ABOUT THE BLOODY HOT SPOTS
 

Flying_Monkey

Toll Collector on the Road to Nowhere
Nice one... the only thing I would like you to be wrong about is for the podium to include Emma Pooley (who might also challenge for the mountains...). Otherwise I can't see much different.

It's really disappointing to see no Nicole (or Team GB). I bet she's wondering what else could possibly happen with her season now...
 
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Skip Madness

Skip Madness

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There's a revised startlist - no Amber Neben, Noemi Cantele or Edita Pucinskaite (among others). MTN are down to five riders, and the rumour is Nicole Cooke may still yet ride for them.

Truly hopeless communications here.
 

Flying_Monkey

Toll Collector on the Road to Nowhere
Skip Madness said:
There's a revised startlist - no Amber Neben, Noemi Cantele or Edita Pucinskaite (among others).

eh? what is going on?

MTN are down to five riders, and the rumour is Nicole Cooke may still yet ride for them.

Truly hopeless communications here.

Sounds like it, and it is unfortunately another reflection of the state of the organisation of international women's cycling right now.

I hope Nicole is riding, though the quality of the field has just been sharply reduced with those 3 no-shows.
 
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Here are today's results, which confirm that Nicole Cooke (and Emma Silversides) did not ride:

01 Regina Bruins (Cervélo) 4'48"
02 Linda Villumsen (HTC) +03"
03 Marianne Vos (Nederland Bloeit) +05"
04 Emma Pooley (Cervélo) +07"
05 Annie van Vleuten (Nederland Bloeit) +08"
06 Evelyn Stevens (HTC) +09"
07 Adrie Visser (HTC) +09"
08 Lizzie Armitstead (Cervélo) +09"
09 Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany) +11"
10 Emma Johansson (RedSun) +11"
11 Ina Teutenberg (HTC) +11"
12 Claudia Häusler (Cervélo) +13"
13 Loes Gunnewijk (Nederland Bloeit) +13"
14 Chantal Blaak (Leontien) +13"
15 Liesbet de Vocht (Nederland Bloeit) +15"
16 Sharon Laws (Cervélo) +15"
17 Inga Cilvinaite (Safi) +17"
18 Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Vienne Futuroscope) +17"
19 Alexandra Burchenkova (Fenixs) +18"
20 Eneritz Iturriagaechevarria (Safi) +19"

Selected others:

21 Luise Keller (HTC) +19"
24 Tatiana Guderzo (Valdarno) +20"
26 Vicki Whitelaw (Lotto) +20"
27 Ruth Corset (Tibco) +20"
31 Trixi Worrack (Noris) +23"
34 Carla Ryan (Cervélo) +23"
78 Mara Abbott (United States) +39"

Great starts for Pooley and Armitstead. None of the favourites lost ridiculous amounts, which of course they shouldn't over such a short distance, but Mara Abbott has given herself a bit more to do than most.
 

Legs

usually riding on Zwift...
Location
Staffordshire
 
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That's really an amazing victory when you look at some of the other names in that group - I'd have taken Blaak, Miller and Gunnewijk to beat her, and probably Bras too.

She also gets the yellow for her efforts. It's entirely feasible she will still have it tomorrow after the TTT.
 
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Cervélo won today's TTT ahead of HTC, with Nederland Bloeit in third.

But... the Tour de l'Aude operates a restricted time loss system. This means there are "maximum losses" teams can have over the winning team to make sure the GC doesn't get too unfairly biased by the result (why they couldn't just have a shorter TTT is a mystery).

So despite finishing 35 seconds behind Cervélo, HTC's loss has been restricted to 20 seconds. Despite Nederland Bloeit finishing 54 seconds behind, their loss has been restricted to 30 seconds etc.

Unfortuantely, this applies only to the time taken on the third rider. For riders who lost contact with their team, they get given their own time.

Confused? Well wait until you see how this has turned out:

Lotto finished in last place, 7:30 behind Cervélo. But because of the restrictions, they have only been given 2:00 loss. But Lizzie Armitstead was dropped by her team thanks to an early puncture. She ended up 3:45 behind her own team, and has lost every second of it.

So to make that clear, Lizzie Armitstead actually finished 3:45 faster than Lotto, but has been given a time 1:45 slower. Utterly disgraceful.

Adrie Visser is the new yellow jersey. Here's the GC:

01 Adrie Visser (HTC)
02 Loes Gunnewijk (Nederland Bloeit) +0:23
03 Katheryn Curi Mattis (United States) +0:40
04 Regina Bruins (Cervélo) +0:56
05 Chantal Blaak (Leontien) +1:02
06 Emma Pooley (Cervélo) +1:03
07 Claudia Häusler (Cervélo) +1:09
08 Sharon Laws (Cervélo) +1:11
09 Petra Dijkman (RedSun) +1:15
10 Linda Villumsen (HTC) +1:20
 
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Ina Teutenberg has won stage three - but from a small break rather than a sprint. I'm guessing the crosswinds did the damage again today, but we'll have to wait for a full report.
 
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We get the first proper climbs today. Unfortunately Evelyn Stevens lost two and a half minutes to the other favourites yesterday, while Tatiana Guderzo lost closer to ten minutes. I suppose they might be good for attacks today because of that.
 
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