I can’t say much more on yesterday’s stupendous Giro stage – a “hold up” said La Gazzetta Dello Sport – and the leaked emails from Landis are circling in my head like crazy. So let’s go elsewhere for a moment.
The Tour de L’Aude
Fine scenery, fine roads and if not fine wines, very decent ones at least. This is a top women’s stage race and takes place in the Aude départment of France. I’ve often been interested in tagging on to this race, it would be good training to tail the broom wagon each day.
As for the race, Cervélo’s British rider Emma Pooley is in the lead. Stage 4 saw Mara Abbot (US National Team) take the stage win but Pooley finished with her to take the overall. Stage 5 went to the Pyrenean spa town of Amélie Les Bains and saw another win for the US team with Katheryn Mattis but Pooley finished 1.25 down to keep her yellow jersey. Amélie Les Bains is where the French Federation has its own training facilities, the eastern Pyrenees offer Mediterranean sunshine and mountains of course.
There are nine stages and the race finishes on Sunday.
This is a Dutch stage race for U-23 riders. It’s being dominated by Taylor Phinney. The US wunderkind took the prologue and then won the next two stages. Maybe Cavendish isn’t having sleepless nights yet but Phinney looks like a real prospect. Especially since his second stage win came from a smaller group after the race blew apart in crosswinds, Phinney wasn’t carried to the final 500m in a sedan chair.
The Ronde de l’Isard
This is an amateur stage race held in the Pyrenees. It often showcases the best riders in France and beyond who can climb as the race frequently heads for the mountain passes. Keep an eye on the results if you want to know who will be winning in the pro ranks in years to come.