Currently ranked world number one in the World Cup and on UCI points, Anna Millward is in France with the Australian national team.
Here I am in France with the Australian National team: Alison Wright, Sara Carrigan, Katie Mactier, Hayley Rutherford and Kym Shirley. We have just begun the Tour de l'Aude, a 10 day race in the south of France. So far it's been nice and sunny but very windy.
Last night the tour began with a 3km prologue over a very technical course 18 corners in the first 2km! Then there was an 800 metre straight into a stiff headwind before turning the last corner and enjoying a tailwind for the last 200 metres. I was very pleased to record the fastest time and pull on the first yellow jersey of the tour. Sarah Ulmer (Autotrader) finished in second place, four seconds back, with Judith Arndt third and Petra Rossner fourth. Katie Mactier was the second Aussie, in ninth place.
In stage one, we raced 106 km over a couple of small climbs. The Aussies tried some early aggression but things were shut down pretty quickly. Alison Wright was going after the intermediate sprints and she had a fight on her hands with the Carpe Diem team who were putting their full team at the front to help their sprinter Olga Slioussareva. However, in the end Alison came up trumps, pulling on the first sprint leader's jersey at the end of the stage.
Over the climbs, Lyne Bessette demonstrated her strength and after the first climb she was solo for several kilometres before being reeled back in by the bunch. There were a few other attempts made to escape in the final 10km but in the end, it was a bunch sprint and Petra Rossner showed her class, winning the stage easily. Olga Slioussareva was second and Aussie Rochelle Gilmore came in third, a fantastic result for a 19 year old!
Petra picked up a 10 second time bonus for winning the stage and that was enough to put her in the yellow jersey ahead of me.
Tomorrow we face a super category climb in the stage, before a long descent to the finish line, so the true contenders for overall honours in this tour will have to show themselves on that climb.
Prologue Results Stage 1 Results