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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

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Editor of Cycling Weekly magazine, Simon has been working at the title since 2001. He fell in love with cycling when channel surfing in 1989 and happening across the greatest ever edition of the Tour de France. He's been a Greg LeMond fan ever since. He started racing in 1995 when moving to university in North Wales gave him more time to train and some amazing roads to train on. He raced domestically for several years, riding everything from Surrey leagues to time trials, track and even a few Premier Calendars. In 2000 he spent one season racing in Belgium with the Kingsnorth International Wheelers. 


Since working for Cycling Weekly he has written product reviews, fitness features, pro interviews, race coverage and news. He has covered the Tour de France more times than he can remember along with two Olympic Games and many other international and UK domestic races. He can still be seen at his club's evening races through the summer but he still hasn't completed the CW5000 challenge!


SIMON IS CURRENTLY RIDING

Road bike: Pinarello K8S with Shimano Dura Ace

TT bike: Specialized Venge road bike with FFWD wheels and Easton Attack TT bars

Gravel bike: N/A

Training bike: Rourke custom hand made with Reynolds 853 steel