Posted by Editor on 05/8/00
Leigh Hobson's Tour de l'Aude Race Diary
Here is my attempt at keeping you all up to date on the happenings over here in France. We've started the Tour de L'Aude with sunny warm weather...hoping it lasts!!! Canada has sent a team of five riders: Cybil DiGuistini, Sandy Espeseth, Annie Gariepy, Leah Goldstein and Leigh Hobson. We are joined by Australian Juanita Feldhahn to complete our team of six. The tour runs from the 5th to the 14th of May.
Today began with the most interesting Prologue I've ever raced. It was a 3km circuit with approximately 16 zig zags...I mean 90 degree turns every 25 metres running along the coast of Gruissan!!! Of the 75 starters, Canada fared very well with 3 Canadians placing in the top 10.
Those doing well rode with supreme technical skill and a little of the "devil-may-care" spirit!
This stage began the road racing at Tour de L'Aude...typical for this region, it was windy and threatened to rain! The 130km race began and finished Lezignan. (Average speed 36kph) Although many attacks were made, no breaks were successful and a group of 70 riders came to the finish line, with Saturn's Petra Rossner taking the win.
Today was a double stage day. If the morning was to be won by a climber, the afternoon was to be won by a descender!!! The first stage left Rieux Minervois and climbed for 44km up to the Pic de Nore. Within this stage were two GPM of HC (hardest category!) The group was shattered on the first GPM which ended with a very steep 1km pitch. The Pic de Nore seemed easy compared to this first climb!! French rider Geraldine Loewenguth took the win by over a minute.
The second stage began with a twisty descent on gravel covered wet roads...Ina Teutenberg, Mirjam Melchers, Heidi Van De Vijver and Hanka Kupfernagel made use of their supreme descending skills and got a gap that lasted the entire race. Leader Geraldine Loewenguth and two other climbers attempted to bridge up to the group, however finished the race over three minutes back. Although a strong attempt was made by Saturn to keep the time gap to a minimum, the peloton crossed the finish line over 9 minutes back!
Today was FAST! One hundred and thirty kilometres of motorpacing speed. We left St. Laurent and arrived in Durban Corbieres. From the start, there were attacks with a group finally getting away after about 70km...they were chased for approximately 20km and finally caught before the end of the stage. The peloton finished together with Petra Rossner taking the sprint once again.
1st Petra Rossner (SAT)
2nd Ina Teutenberg (GER)
3rd Anna Wilson (SAT)
23rd Leigh Hobson
30th Cybil Diguistinit
37th Sandy Espeseth
45th Annie Gariepy
53rd Leah Goldstein
58th Lyne Bessette all s.t.
63rd Clara Hughes 0:11
1st Hanka Kupfernagel (GER)
2nd Geraldine Loewenguth (FRA) at 1:52
3rd Mirjam Melchers (NED) 2:02
4th Heidi Van De Vijver (BEL) 2:55
5th Tatiana Stiajkina (UKR) 2:57
6th Madeleine Lindberg (FAR) 8:00
7th Cindy Pieters (VLA) 10:21
8th Aline Camboulives (FRA) 10:24
9th Juanita Feldhahn (AUS) 10:26
10th Anna Wilson (SAT) 11:52
11th Lyne Bessette 12:09
15th Sandy Espeseth 12:58
18th Leigh Hobson 13:07
19th Cybil Diguistini st
29th Clara Hughes 17:25
31st Annie Gariepy 17:41
59th Leah Goldstein 30:42
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