Reigning Danish road and time trial champion Linda Villumsen stormed round a blustery Gruissan to take the prologue of the Tour de l?Aude.

The Columbia Highroad rider averaged over 48kph for the 3.9km course to beat Regina Bruins from Holland by fractions of a second.

Top British finisher was Bruins? Cervelo team-mate Emma Pooley in 19th. World and Olympic champion Nicole Cooke ended the day in 25th, 16 seconds adrift of Villumsen.

Saturday?s stage, a 116km loop starting and finishing in Rieux, features one second category climb, should be more to the Vision 1 team leader?s liking.

RESULTS Prologue Gruissan, 3.9km
1. Linda Villumsen (Den) Columbia-Highroad in 4-52
2. Regina Bruins (Ned) Cervelo
3. Noëmie Cantele (Ita) Bigla at 1sec
4. Kristin Armstrong (USA) Cervelo at 3secs
5. Ina Teutenberg (Ger) Columbia-Highroad
6. Amber Neben (USA) Equipe Nurnberger
7. Marianne Vos (Ned) DSB Bank at 4secs
8. Mirjam Melchers-Van Poppel (Ned) Flexpoint at 7secs
9. Emma Johansson (Swe) Red Sun
10. Trine Schmidt (Den) Flexpoint at 8secs


19 Emma Pooley (Gbr) Cervelo at 13secs
22 Anna Blyth (Gbr) GB at 15secs
25 Nicole Cooke (Gbr) Vision 1 at 16secs
26 Nikki Harris (Gbr) GB at 17secs
33 Lizzie Armitstead (Gbr) Lotto Belisol at 21secs
44 Katie Colclough (Gbr) GB at 26secs
52 Alex Greenfield (Gbr) GB at 28secs
54 Lucy Martin (Gbr) GB at 29secs
59 Leda Cox (Gbr) ESGL93-GSD Gestion at 31secs
64 Helen Wyman (Gbr) Vision 1 at 33secs
73 Catherine Hare-Williamson (Gbr) Fenixs at 36secs
93 Gabby Day (Gbr) Vision 1 at 45secs
105 Emma Silversides (Gbr) Lotto Belisol at 1min 10secs

Tour de l?Aude Preview