The British team finished fifth in today?s team time trial at the Tour de L?Aude, losing 1.21 minutes to a strong national Dutch team.

The 27km circuit around Port la Nouvelle in the south of France was buffeted by winds making for a technically difficult day. With no other women?s races featuring a team time trial, the British team had had no chance to practice, and were told to approach their ride as if riding a chain-gang.

Three riders crossed the finish line together; Emma Pooley, Nicole Cooke and Jessica Allen, stopping the clock at 37.05 minutes. Sharon Laws finished around a minute further back after losing contact in the closing stages.

?Emma looked the best today,? team manager Julian Winn said. ?Nicole is raw power, but Emma looked so smooth. Jess did a very good ride, she held it together very well. Sharon was on the back foot a bit but that wasn?t a physical thing, it was more to do with her inexperience.?

Favourites Team High Road were second by just six seconds, putting German Judith Arndt in to the leader?s yellow jersey. The Nurnberger team were just two seconds further back keeping Trixi Worrack in overall contention.

Today?s result sees Cooke slip down the overall standings, but the decisive stages come in the middle of next week when the route takes the riders down in to the Pyrenees.

TOUR DE L?AUDE 2008: STAGE TWO RESULTS (provisional)
1. Netherlands 27km in 35-44
2. Team High Road at 6sec
3. Team Nurnberger at 8sec
4. America at 40sec
5. Great Britain at 50sec

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION (provisional)
1. Judith Arndt (Ger) Team High Road 3-56-00
2. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Equipe Nurnberger at 12sec
3. Nicole Cooke (GB) Great Britain national team at 40sec
10. Sharon Laws (GB) Great Britain national team at 2-21
15. Emma Pooley (GB) Great Britain national team at 3-38
16. Jessica Allen (GB) Great Britain national team at 3-48
69. Helen Wyman (GB) Swift Racing at 12-18
85. Catherine Hare (GB) Great Britain national team at 17-02
88. Leda Cox (GB) Great Britain national team at 17-25
94. Emma Davies-Jones (GB) Swift Racing at 22-58
98. Gabriella Day (GB) Swift Racing at 23-10

RELATED LINKS
Stage one: Cooke sprints to first win of the year
Prologue: Cooke top Brit
Preview
Stage details
Start list