Emma Pooley strengthened her grip on the yellow jersey at the Tour de l’Aude by winning the seventh stage in Roquefeuil.
It has been an impressive week of racing by the British rider, who now leads overall by 4-42 with two stages to go.
Pooley was part of a seven-rider break that went clear early on the first climb and set the pattern on a difficult day’s racing in the heavy roads of the south of France.
When she made her decisive attack, only Mara Abbot, the American rider, could go with her. Pooley shook Abbot off in the closing kilometres to win the stage.
Pooley’s Cervélo team have dominated the race. Regina Bruins won the prologue, before Britain’s Elizabeth Armitstead took the opening road stage. Armitstead punctured just one kilometre into the team time trial and she implored her team-mates not to wait despite the fact she had the yellow jersey. Cervélo won the stage. Pooley took the yellow jersey after stage four, which was won by Abbot and now she has added a stage win of her own. Pooley also leads in the king of the mountains competition.
Saturday’s penultimate stage is a 112-kilometre leg from Aunat to Limoux. The race concludes with a 91-kilometre stage starting and finishing in Carcassonne on Sunday. If Pooley clinches overall victory it will be the first British win the longest-running women’s stage race on the calendar. The first edition was held in 1985.
Stage 7: Limoux – Roquefeuil, 105km
1. Emma Pooley (GB) Cervélo in 3-04-19
2. Mara Abbot (USA) US national team at 8sec
3. Emma Johansson (Swe) Redsun at 2-18
4. Claudio Hausler (Ger) Cervélo same time
5. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Noris at 4-11
6. Sharon Laws (GB) Cervélo same time
66. Elizabeth Armitstead (GB) Cervélo at 34-23
1. Emma Pooley (GB) Cervélo in 18-28-28
2. Mara Abbot (USA) US national team at 4-42
3. Emma Johansson (Swe) Redsun at 5-40
4. Claudia Hausler (Ger) Cervélo at 6-51
5. Annemiek Van Bleuten (Ned) Nederland Bloeit at 7-08
6. Evelyn Stevens (USA) HTC-Columbia at 7-45
9. Sharon Laws (GB) Cervélo at 8-04
28. Elizabeth Armitstead (GB) Cervélo at 54-12