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Tour de l’Aude — Stage 7

May 20, 2005 —- Canadian Lyne Bessette continued her solid charge through the overall classification at the Tour de l’Aude, taking advantage of a crash by race leader Karin Thurig (Univega) to jump into a 16-rider group that has rocked the GC. In a stage won in a three-rider break by Youlia Martissova (P.M.B.), Thurig’s crash has put the yellow leader’s jersey on Amber Neben (Buitenpoort), but eight riders loom at less than a minute on GC, including Bessette.

Ana Ramirez (Spain) launched the days’ winning attack in the first climbs of today’s stage, and was eventually joined by Martissova and Marina Jaunatre (France). Working together the three built a convincing lead — more than six minutes — while behind, disaster struck: race leader Thurig went down in a four-rider crash. Seizing the advantage, a 16-rider group including Buitenpoort’s Neben and Mirjam Melchers as well as Bessette — joined by Canadian teammate Erinne Willock — relentlessly drove the front of the race, eventually finishing 41 seconds down on the stage winners. More importantly, however, the day’s work managed to drop Thurig 56 seconds off their pace and, with other GC leaders like Oenone Wood (Nurnberger) and Loes Gunnewijk (Vreinden) struggling, score massive GC gains.

After seven stages, Bessette stands fifth overall, with less than 30 seconds separating the top five on GC. Tomorrow’s 5.9km time trial, perfectly flat, will have an impact — especially for TT specialist Thurig — but at this stage it looks like the Tour de l’Aude will boil down to the final climb to the ski station finish on Sunday’s final stage. Stay tuned”¦

Stage 7 Results:
1. Youlia Martissova (Rus) Mixed P.M.B. Fenixs 3.31.38
2. Marina Jaunatre (Fra) French National Team
3. Anna Ramirez (Spa) Spanish National Team
4. Anita Valen (Nor) Vlaanderen Capri Sonne 0.41
5. Svetlana Boubnenkova (Rus) Mixed P.M.B. Fenixs
6. Modesta Vzesniauskaite (Ltu) Nobili Rubinetterie
7. Dorte Rasmussen (Den) Team S.A.T.S.
8. Theresa Senff (Ger) Van Bemmelen Aa Drink
9. Mirjam Melchers (Ned) Buitenpoort Flexpoint
10. Amber Neben (USA) Buitenpoort Flexpoint

14. Erinne Willock (Can) Canadian National Team s.t.
18. Lyne Bessette (Can) Canadian National Team s.t.
38. Felicia Greer (Can) Canadian National Team 5:43
82. Leigh Hobson (Can) Canadian National Team 19:50

GC after stage 7
1. Amber Neben (USA) Buitenpoort Flexpoint 19.26.00
2. Kristin Armstrong (USA) USA National Team 0.13
3. Christiane Soeder (Aut) Mixed Univega Pct/Ar 0.16
4. Karin Thürig (Swi) Mixed Univega Pct/Ar 0.18
5. Lyne Bessette (Can) Canadian National Team 0.29
6. Mirjam Melchers (Ned) Buitenpoort Flexpoint 0.36
7. Anita Valen (Nor) Vlaanderen Capri Sonne 0.42
8. Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) Mixed Vrienden-Therme 0.56
9. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Nurnberger Versicherung 1.24
10. Kimberly Baldwin (USA) USA National Team 1.30

14. Erinne Willock (Can) Canadian National Team 2.13
39. Felicia Greer (Can) Canadian National Team 15.40
67. Leigh Hobson (Can) Canadian National Team 35.11

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