Former world champion Susanne Ljungskog won today?s stage of the Tour de l?Aude putting herself in control of the ten day race in France. The Swede attacked the lead group, that contained Nicole Cooke, Sharon Laws and Emma Pooley with almost 50km to go and built a lead of almost three minutes
The British team had forced the pace on the first hors category climb with Emma Pooley setting a tempo so fast that just 25 riders were left hanging on to her wheel over the top of the Col du Calvaire.
It was the second climb of Col de la Llose where Ljungskog made her move, ?Sharon had the legs to go with her but was just in the wrong position,? Winn said. ?She?d punctured just before and although Emma waited for her, the chase would have taken a little out of her.?
?A group of 20 were chasing Ljungskog but it was a mental descent, really tight and twisty.? The group split again here with Pooley getting distanced from the chasing group.
?On the last hors category climb, Sharon tried to split it but couldn?t get away.? Winn said. ?She covered every move and eventually got away in a group of six that continued to chase Ljungskog.?
Laws eventually finished fifth on the stage and moved up to sixth overall, and with Cooke in fourth the British team is still in a position to challenge for the yellow jersey.
?It?s definitely still all to play for. They can feed off of the other teams, Menkini and High road will have to take it on and we can sit and wait for them to make the moves.?
Britain’s Nicole Cooke wears the jersey for the points classification, as well as being fourth overall
TOUR DE L’AUDE 2008: STAGE 4 RESULTS
1. Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) Menikini-Selle Italia in 2-52-21
2. Alison Powers (USA) Stats-Unis at 2-53
3. Emma Johansson (Swe) AA-Drink Cycling Team at 3-04
4. Nikki Egyed (Aus) Australia at 3-06
5. Sharon Laws (GB) Great Britain at 3-12
10. Nicole Cooke (GB) Great Britain at 4-18
36. Jessica Allen (GB) Great Britain at 12-22
53. Helen Wyman (GB) Swift Racing at same time
60. Emma Pooley (GB) Great Britain at 21-05
65. Leda Cox (GB) Great Britain at 22-06
76. Catherine Hare (GB) Great Britain at 30-03
85. Emma Davie Jones (GB) Swift Racing
93. Gabriella Day (GB) Swift Racing all at same time.
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 4
1. Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) Menikini-Selle Italia in 9-42-53
2. Judith Arndt (Ger) Team High Road at 3-39
3. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Equipe Nurnberger at 3-55
4. Nicole Cooke (GB) Great Britain at 4-21
Stage three: Favourites bide their time
Stage two: Great Britain fifth in team time trial
Stage one: Cooke sprints to first win of the year
Prologue: Cooke top Brit