|Cyclingnews TV News Tech Features Road MTB BMX Cyclo-cross Track Photos Fitness Letters Search Forum|
Tour de L'Aude Feminin - 2.9.1
France, May 14-23, 2004
By Kristy Scrymgeour
Friday kicks off the 20th edition of the Tour de L'Aude Feminin, possibly the most important women's stage race this year. As well as its status as a well-organised event that carries a significant slab of UCI points, this year's race is also important on another level as many nations are using it as a selection race for the Athens Olympics.
The tour will start once again in Gruissan, in the south of France, but not with the short prologue that has started five of the last six Tours de l'Aude. Instead, the first stage will be a 95km road stage starting and finishing in Gruissan. A short 5.7km time trial will take place on day two.
Quite a few of the stages this year are similar to previous years; including the traditional 31.5km individual time trial in Castelnaudary mid-way through the tour. However there are also some significant changes. This year, the famous Pic du Nore returns for the first time since 2000. This 45km all-uphill stage will again be part of a double stage day on day eight of the tour. It is expected to have a big effect on the general classification.
Also a little different is the fact that last year's queen stage from Axat to Axat, where Judith Arndt (Nurnberger) took the overall lead from Saturn's Lyne Bessette, will not take place. It will, however, be replaced with a stage that is just as hard. The new crucial stage will be at the base of the Pyrenees and will take narrow, hilly roads from Couiza to Arques.
The final stage in Limoux is also not the flat sprinters' stage it has been for the last couple of years. This year it is hilly and hard, and although the hills are not terribly steep and it probably won't affect the top ten in GC, it will be a challenging day.
Arndt will be returning this year to defend her title once again. Having won the event for the past two years she is, of course, a definite favourite. Challenging her will be Bessette, who has also won this race twice before, in 1999 and 2001. The Canadian is in good form this year and comes off several wins in the US with her new Quark team. This week she'll be racing with the Canadian National Team.
Fabiana Luperini won this tour back in 1998 with a win on Pic de Nore and will be one of the favourites this year on the new Let's Go Finland team. Henka Kupfernagel (Vlaanderen - T-Interim Univega Ladies Team) is always good in L'Aude and could be one to watch for a stage win and Valentina Polkhanova (Nobili Rubinetterie - Guerciotti) will also be up there on the climbs.
Watch out for the Australians in the time trial, as it is the last time trial for them for Olympic selection. Margaret Hemsley, who will be racing for the Australian National Team, is currently leading the selection points for the time trial and will be aiming for another good ride to hold onto that lead and earn her spot on the Olympic team. Sara Carrigan and Kathy Watt are not far behind her and need to beat her in this time trial to take that Olympic spot.
The time trial will also be vital to the overall tour as it is a hard, open course, subject to a lot of wind, and a lot of time can be made up in the 31.5km.
In the history of the race only four people have won the overall twice. They are Arndt, Bessette, Cathy Marsal (1990 & 1994) and Jeanie Longo (1988 & 1993). With Arndt and Bessette fighting it out this year, it is quite possible that one of them will break through that barrier, setting a new record.
Nurnberger Versicherung Canadian National Team 1 Judith Arndt (Ger) 7 Lyne Bessette (Can) 2 Tina Liebig (Ger) 8 Nicole Demars (Can) 3 Madeleine Lindberg (Swe) 9 Kathy White (Can) 4 Petra Rossner (Ger) 10 Gina Grain (Can) 5 Trixi Worrack (Ger) 11 Amy Moore (Can) 6 Jessica Philipps (USA) 12 Erinne Willock (Can) Team S.A.T.S German National Team 13 Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) 19 Liane Bahler (Ger) 14 Trine Hansen (Den) 20 Angela Brodtka (Ger) 15 Mette Fisher Andreasen (Den) 21 Claudia Stumpf (Ger) 16 Meredith Miller (USA) 22 Madelaine Sandig (Ger) 17 Christina Peick-Anders (Den) 23 Theresa Senff (Ger) 18 Anita Valen (Nor) 24 Luise Keller (Ger) Nobili Rubineterie-Guerciotti Vlaanderen T Interim 25 Valentina Polkhanova (Rus) 31 Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger) 26 Sigrid Corneo (Ita) 32 Veerle Ingels (Bel) 27 Catherine Marsal (Fra) 33 Debby Mansveld (Bel) 28 Kym Shirley (Aus) 34 Cindy Pieters (Bel) 29 Ombretta Ugolini (Ita) 35 Sharon Van Dromme (Bel) 30 Alison Wright (Aus) 36 Priska Doppmann (Bel) Inter Region Pruneau T-Mobile 37 Elisabeth Chevanne-Brunel (Fra) 43 Kristin Armstrong (USA) 38 Magalie Finot Laivier (Fra) 44 Kimberly Anderson (USA) 39 Zlatica Gavlakova-Bazola (Fra) 45 Kimberly Bruckner (USA) 40 Sylvie Riedle (Fra) 46 Lara Kroepsch (USA) 41 Elodie Leroux (Fra) 47 Deidre Demet-Barry (USA) 42 Nadia Triquet Claude (Fra) 48 Stacey Peters (USA) Australian National Team Therme Skin Care 49 Louise Yaxley (Aus) 55 Janieke Vos (Ned) 50 Natalie Bates (Aus) 56 Suzanne De Goede (Ned) 51 Sara Carrigan (Aus) 57 Josephine Groenveld (Ned) 52 Olivia Gollan (Aus) 58 Francis Linthorst (Ned) 53 Lorian Graham (Aus) 59 Kirsty Nicole Robb (NZl) 54 Margaret Hemsley (Aus) 60 Irene Van Den Broek (Ned) British National Team Lithuanian National Team 61 Sara Symington (GBr) 67 Ramune Lipinskaite (Ltu) 62 Charlotte Goldsmith (GBr) 68 Erika Vilunaite (Ltu) 63 Catherine Hare (GBr) 69 Diana Elmentaite (Ltu) 64 Rachel Heal (GBr) 70 Indre Januleviciute (Ltu) 65 Francis Newstead (GBr) 71 Rasa Polikeviciute (Ltu) 66 Helen Saunders (GBr) 72 Jolanta Polikeviciute (Ltu) French National Team Ondernemers Van Nature 73 Sonia Huguet (Fra) 79 Chantal Beltman (Ned) 74 Karine Dalmais (Fra) 80 Andrea Bosman (Ned) 75 Magali Le Floc'h (Fra) 81 Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) 76 Sandrine Marcuz (Fra) 82 Corrien Van Haastert (Ned) 77 Virginie Moinard (Fra) 83 Minke Van Dongen (Ned) 78 Edwige Pitel (Fra) 84 Sharon Van Essen (Ned) Basis-Aude Mixed @Home Cycling Team 85 Sandra Rombouts (Ned) 91 Ghita Beltman (Ned) 86 Leah Goldstein (Isr) 92 Saskia Elemans (Ned) 87 Kristen Lasasso (USA) 93 Bertine Spijkerman (Ned) 88 Corinne Hierckens (Bel) 94 Loes Markerink (Ned) 89 Tanja Hennes (Ger) 95 Aneke Hassink (Ned) 90 Kathy Watt (Aus) 96 Kristen Wild (Ned) Sc Michela Fanini Record Rox Equipe Composite Rostex Quantum 97 Nicole Brandli (Ita) 103 Martina Ruzickova (Cze) 98 Barbara Cazzaniga (Ita) 104 Lenka Valova (Cze) 99 Janildes Silva (Bra) 105 Klara Sintakova (Cze) 100 Hayley Rutherford (Aus) 106 Suzanne Bayer (Ger) 101 Alessandra Borchi (Ita) 107 Birgit Hollmann (Ger) 102 Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu) 108 Anke Wichmann (Ger)
Year First Second Third 2003 Judith Arndt (Ger) Lyne Bessette (Can) Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) 2002 Judith Arndt (Ger) Valentina Polkhanova (Rus) Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu) 2001 Lyne Bessette (Can) Judith Arndt (Ger) Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) 2000 Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger) Mirjam Melchers (Ned) Géraldine Loewenguth (Fra) 1999 Lyne Bessette (Can) Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger) Heidi Van de Vijver (Bel) 1998 Fabiana Luperini (Ita) Valentina Polkhanova (Rus) Catherine Marsal (Fra) 1997 Linda Jackson (Can) Svetlana Bubnenkova (Rus) Heidi Van De Vijver (Bel) 1996 Aleksandra Koliaseva (Rus) Svetlana Bubnenkova (Rus) Catherine Marsal (Fra) 1995 Valentina Polkhanova (Rus) Rasa Polikiavichute (Lit) Svetlana Bubnenkova (Rus) 1994 Catherine Marsal (Fra) Rasa Polikiavichute (Lit) Alexsandra Koliaseva (Rus) 1993 Jeannie Longo (Fra) Leontien Van Moorsel (Ned) Marion Clignet (Fra) 1992 Julie Young (USA) 1991 Leontien Van Moorsel (Ned) Catherine Marsal (Fra) Inga Thompson (USA) 1990 Catherine Marsal (Fra) Leontien Van Moorsel (Ned) Denise Kelly (Can) 1989 Cecile Odin (Fra) Nadejda Kibardina (USSR) Sara Neil (Can) 1988 Jeannie Longo (Fra) Maria Canins (Ita) L. Brambani (GB) 1987 Maria Canins (Ita) Tamara Poliakova (Ukr) Jeannie Longo (Fra) 1986 Phyllis Hines (USA) V. Lafargue (Fra) A. Iakovleva (USSR) 1985 Jeanette Parks (USA) Past winners by Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com