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Brooke, Ruth, Emma and Jo cooling down in nearby river

TIBCO Attacks First Mountain Stage of Tour d'Aude
20 May, 2010
"étape quatre" but jour cinq of the Tour de L'Aude begins and ends in the alpine village of Osséja high in the Pyrenees Mountains. This is the first of three days for the climbers in the peloton. Two giant climbs today means big gaps will certainly form. The course is a big figure-eight double loop through a magnificent wooded mountain landscape.  

The finish is a long straightaway into town on a slight up-hill. Emma Pooley of Cervelo came across the finish line first along with a USA National Team rider. It appeared to this reporter that the two had sorted out who would cross the finish line first, because neither initiated a sprint.

A Treacherous Finish.
The last 20-kilometers of today's course were almost entirely downhill, with many very steep bits and too many dangerous turns to count. (I can tell you the road here from our base in Limoux was frightening.) The racers will no doubt hit insane speeds on the sweep curves towards today's "arrivée".

New Zealand National Champion, Jo Kiesanowski told us "I live for descents. You just have to take the straightest line. Don't hug the edge of the road."

More bad luck today: Ruth got a flat just before the beginning of the third climb. Although the mechanic was quick with a wheel change, the first group of riders got away from her.

Cool Down.

Your reward for 98-kilometers of hard riding and dangerous descents? A nice dip in the icy waters of the river.

After the race, several TIBCO riders soaked their tired legs in the snow-melt waters. It's not some weird ritual, the frigid waters help promote healing and speed recovery. A very good idea since tomorrow's stage is longer and more "difficulté".

Results:
Two more riders abandoned the race today. So, of the 88 remaining competitors, here's where we stand.

Ruth Corest in 25th place
Amanda Miller 35th
Rebecca Much 36th
Jo Kiesanowski 47th
Brooke Miller 62nd
Emma Mackie 65th


Brooke retains the Red Jersey.


Brooke, Ruth, Emma and Jo cooling down in nearby river.


Click to enlarge...
Kiesanowski cross the finish line on day 5

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