Canadian Cyclist


May 14/07 4:28 am - Tour de l'Aude Preview

Posted by Editoress on 05/14/07

Tour de l'Aude Preview
Courtesy Team

The Tour de l'Aude Cycliste Feminin is arguably the most prestigious women's tour in the world. It is definitely one of the longest and most unpredictable; originally four days long, this year the Tour will run for ten days and will include a team time trial, a double day and six 100 km+ days! The hilly countryside of the beautiful l'Aude region of south central France will provide some fast technical riding. The fluctuating temperatures and altitudes in the area mean the riders have to be prepared for extremes - from hot sunny days, to wind, rain and below freezing temperatures.

In 2007 Team will be the only team present representing North America! Riding for Team in the Tour de l'Aude will be Joelle Numainville (CAN), Anne Samplonius (CAN), Amanda Shaw (CAN), Meshy Holt (NZL), Jessica Phillips (USA) and Erinne Willock (CAN). Team will be riding against some of the best teams in the world - including T-Mobile and Raleigh Life Force. In addition, fresh from racing in the US, Team is going to have to adapt quickly to European style racing. European racing is traditionally a more aggressive "elbows out" style with riders in the peloton constantly jostling for position.

This will be Erinne Willock's (the Team GC rider), first race since her early season knee injury. The Tour de l'Aude is definitely her jump in at the deep end, but after the last four weeks training at altitude, the team will be hoping she is race fit and ready for action. For Amanda Shaw, the Tour will be her introduction to European racing, and despite the big names present she is approaching the race confidently. Tour veterans Meshy Holt and Anne Samplonius will be providing some guidance to the rest of the team, "You push yourself just as hard on a ten day tour as on a one day race - always with an expectation that at some point the riding will get easier as riders tire but it never does," says Meshy.

With sprinter Gina Grain committed to the Pan-American Training Camp in Venezuela, Team will be looking to keep their racing unpredictable, capitalizing on breaks and looking for positioning in the sprints.

Racing starts on Wednesday 18th with the 3.9 km prologue in Gruissan.


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