Stage 6 - Lyon to Villard de Lans, 125km
Zabirova wins her second stage of the Grande Boucle International
Saturn's Judith Arndt stays in gold.
Today's stage brought the 109 remaining riders in the Grand Boucle between Lyon and Villars de Lans. The stage long of 127 kilometers saw a group of 16 going away from the bunch at 80 kilometers. Within the break was Saturn's Kimberly Bruckner who took a very promising third place. But it was Zoulfia Zabirova from USC Chirio who won in solo her second victory of the Tour.
The stage started with a head wind and a bonification sprint at the 10 kilometer marker. The QOM of at kilometer 62 and then 69 stretched out the bunch but all stayed together before starting the 10 kilometer descent. At this point Arenda Grinberg (Farm Frites) made the descent and was followed by Saturn's rider Catherine Marsal. The two girls were reached by Olga Slioussareva (Itera) and Sara Felloni (Edil Savino). The break of four had a gap of 1 minute on the bunch when a group of 12 escaped to make the bridge. Within that group was Bruckner, who was the highest placed GC rider in the break, but the most threatening rider for the Saturn's team was Zabirova.
Zabirova drove the break, starting the last 22 kilometers up to Villars de Lans by putting the hammer down. At this point, Bruckner could sit on the break, as she was protecting Arndt's leader jersey. Arndt, at this point, was in the second group with Rossner, Teutenberg and all the GC riders at 2'10". Saturn's Marsal paced off the from the front group after helping Bruckner and then as the road get more steep again, and the pace of Zabirova faster, Bruckner, the Polish champion Matuziak and Zabirova wedged a gap off the group.
In the final kilometer, Bruckner faced continual attacks by Zabirova and Matuziak and finally could not cover all attacks. In her wily ways, Zabirova got away from Bruckner to cross the line first, with Matuziak in second. Bruckner finished in third, unofficially moving her into third in the overall. Arndt finished at around 2 minutes behind Zabirova one the line, thus maintaining her golden jersey.
Tomorrow's very tough stage from Aix Les Bains, brings the riders over 133 kilometers up the Col of the Madeleine at the 80 kilometer marker and then to the final climb to the ski resort of Courchevel. Tomorrow will be a crucial day for Arndt and her Saturn Team to hold off the surge of the overall race contenders.
1 Zoulfia Zabirova (Rus) USC Chirio 3.31.35
2 Bogumila Matusiak (Pol) Mixte Power Plate 0.12
3 Kimberly Bruckner (USA) Saturn Cycling
4 Zinaida Stahurskaia (Blr) USC Chirio 1.31
5 Alessandra Cappellotto (Ita) Mixte Power Plate
6 Svetlana Boubnenkova (Rus) Edilsavino
7 Rasa Polikeviciute (Ltu) Acca Due O
8 Joane Somarriba Arrola (Spa) Deia Pragma Colnago
9 Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu) Figurella Dream Team
10 Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) Vlaanderen-T Interim
General classification - stage 6
1 Judith Arndt (Ger) Saturn Cycling 18.39.28
2 Leontien Van Moorsel (Ned) Team Farm Frites-Hartol 0.46
3 Kimberly Bruckner (USA) Saturn Cycling 0.52
4 Zoulfia Zabirova (Rus) USC Chirio 1.26
5 Valentina Polkhanova (Rus) Itera Team 1.46
6 Zinaida Stahurskaia (Blr) USC Chirio 2.10
7 Joane Somarriba Arrola (Spa) Deia Pragma Colnago 3.08
8 Alessandra Cappellotto (Ita) Mixte Power Plate 3.30
9 Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) Vlaanderen-T Interim 3.39
10 Rasa Polikeviciute (Ltu) Acca Due O 3.40