LAWS GETS SECOND ON TOUR DE L'AUDE STAGE
Sharon Laws took second place behind Australia’s Vicky Whitelaw in today’s mountainous sixth stage of the Tour de l’Aude.
The Great Britain rider has moved up to fourth place overall. Nicole Cooke slips one to fifth place.
There were three first-category climbs on the 117-kilometre stage from Rennes-les-Bains to Axat.
As soon as the bunch reached the first of them, the Col de Valmigère after 14 kilometres, it started to split up.
On the second climb, the Col de la Fage, at 54 kilometres, the front group was whittled down to 23 riders. Nicole Cooke and Laws were there for Great Britain.
Directeur sportif Julian Winn explained that the British gameplan was to put in several attacks on the final climb, the Col du Paradis, which came with 45 kilometres remaining.
Laws attacked repeatedly to whittle the group down to 12 riders over the top. Briefly she was away with the yellow jersey holder, Susanne Ljungskog of Sweden, but they were dragged back.
On the run-in, Laws attacked with a Dutch rider, Regina Bruins, and the pair were allowed to get clear. Australia’s Whitelaw bridged across to them.
At the finish, Laws was second in the sprint.
Winn was pleased with the day’s work. “The girls did exactly what was asked of them. It was important they raced aggressively and they certainly did that.”
Asked if he was saving Cooke for later in the race Winn replied: “It wasn’t so much that, it was that Sharon was climbing better. She was climbing very, very well.
“Near the top of the last climb she got away with Ljungskog and for a while it was really looking good. It put High Road and Nurnberger on the defensive, which is what we wanted. Nicole was there policing things and chasing down Judith Arndt. They worked really well together.
“Then Sharon got away with someone who wasn’t so dangerous overall and they let it go, which was great. We were in there with a shout of a stage win.”
Tomorrow’s stage starts and finishes in Castelnaudry and is rolling but without any major climbs. “We’ll sit back and take stock and then have another proper go in a couple of days,” added Winn. “We have to be careful though because days like tomorrow can be dangerous, even though on paper it may not look that hard. We won’t want anything silly going away.
“There are more climbs on Saturday and Sunday and we’ll definitely be having another go.”
TOUR DE L'AUDE 2008: STAGE SIX RESULTS
1. Vicky Whitelaw (Aus) Australia in 3-10-16
2. Sharon Laws (GB) Great Britain at same time
3. Regina Bruins (Ned) Pays-Bas at 6secs
4. Edita Puckinskaite (Ltu) Equipe Nurnberger at 36secs
5. Tina Liebig (Ger) DSB Bank at 43secs
6. Carla Ryan (Aus) Australia at 45secs
7. Nicole Cooke (GB) Great Britain at 47secs
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE SIX
1. Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) Menkini-Selle Italia in 15-50-51
2. Judith Arndt (Ger) High Road at 3-39
3. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Nurnberger at 3-55
4. Sharon Laws (GB) Great Britain at 4-03
5. Nicole Cooke (GB) Great Britain at 4-21
Aussie Vicky Whitelaw pips Britain's Shoron Laws to the line
Nicole Cooke tops the points classification
Stage five: Teutenberg wins, Laws needs a stitch in elbow wound after crash
Stage four: Ljungskog wins, Brits hang tough
Stage three: Favourites bide their time
Stage two: Great Britain fifth in team time trial
Stage one: Cooke sprints to first win of the year
Prologue: Cooke top Brit