Giro Donne: Nicole Cooke foils the sprinters to take Verona stage win
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Giro Donne: Nicole Cooke foils the sprinters to take Verona stage win

by Ben Atkins at 11:08 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Olympic champion escapes the peloton in the closing kilometres to take first victory of the season

nicole cookeNicole Cooke (MCipollini-Giambenini) escaped a breakaway group in the closing kilometres and managed to hold off the sprinters to take a solo victory in Piazza Bra, in front of the Roman arena in Verona. The Olympic and former World champion finished four seconds ahead of the charging pack, which was led by pink jersey Marianne Vos (Nederland Bloeit), with stage four winner Ina Teutenberg (HTC-Highroad) in third.

“I'm so happy, this is a special victory that gives me morale and faith on my capabilities again,” said Cooke at the finish. “After a difficult spring I’ve put in a long period of work, day by day, details for details, and finally it’s come good.”

“I dedicate this victory to my family,” continued the ten-time British champion, “but in particular to my team, because they always give me confidence. Also today, was a perfect day to win in front of our sponsors Cipollini, Giambenini and Giordana.

“It’s a real joy.”

The stage started from Altedo, to the north of Bologna, under drizzly skies, but the opening hour was completed at a very fast average of 40kph. The second hour was even quicker, and despite a number of attacks the peloton stayed together as the peloton made its way across the Veneto plain.

With a little more than 10km to go an eleven rider group escaped the front of the peloton, made up of Cooke, Sarah Düster and Nortje Tabak (both Nederland Bloeit), Valentina Scandolara (Gauss-Rdz-Ormu), Marijn De Vries (AA, Tiffany Cromwell (Hitec Products-UCK), Emilia Fahlin (HTC-Highroad), Gloria Presti (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo), Alessandra d’Ettore (Colavita-Forno d’Asolo), Andrea Graus (Kleo Ladies Team) and Liesbet de Vocht (Topsport Vlaanderen 2012-Ridley).

The group managed to carve out a lead of 40 seconds over the peloton but, as they were about to be pulled back, they began to attack one another. Local rider Scandolara was the first to make a move, and as she was pulled back Düster went herself; Cooke saw her German former-teammate go, and latched on to her wheel.

"I guessed that Düster‘s attack was the right one, and I immediately got on to her wheel,” said Cooke.

With 2km to go the rest of the breakaway was pulled back in, but Cooke was away on her own.

“I tried to get away without looking back, giving all the energy I had available,” she explained. “I only got a few meters, but it was enough to win in a piazza in a city as beautiful as Verona.”

Cooke managed to hold on against the sprinters teams as they bore down on the centre of Verona to take her first win of 2011 in the city of Romeo and Juliet.

As the peloton entered the finshing straight though, a crash on one side of the road brought down a number of riders, including Swedish champion Emma Johansson (Hitec Products-UCK), Aussie sprinter Rochelle Gilmore (Lotto Honda) and white jersey Rasa Leleivyte (Vaiano-Tepso-Solaristech). All riders managed to remount and cross the line, but British rider Lucy Martin (Garmin-Cervélo) suffered a broken wrist and will not start tomorrow.

The crash did not disrupt the sprint of Vos, however, and the Dutch champion beat German champion Teutenberg to the line.

Six seconds time bonus for second place means Vos moves further clear of second place Sylwya Kapusta (Gauss-Rdz-Ormu); the Dutch champion now leads the Polish rider by 14 seconds.

Result stage 5
1. Nicole Cooke (GBr) MCipollini Giambenini, 135,2km in 3h07’15’’
2. Marianne Vos (Ned) Nederland Bloeit
3. Ina Teutenberg (Ger) HTC-Highroad @ 4s
4. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Colavita Forno d’Asolo
5. Julia Martisova (Rus) Gauss-Rdz-Ormu
6. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Nederland Bloeit
7. Eleonora Patuzzo (Ita) Diadora Pasta Zara
8. Sharon Laws (GBr) Garmin – Cervelo
9. Monia Baccaille (Ita) MCipollini-Giambenini
10. Davina Summers (Aus) Bizkaia Durango

Standings after stage 5
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Nederland Bloeit
2. Sylwya Kapusta (Pol) Gauss-Rdz-Ormu a 14s
3. Emma Pooley (GBr) Garmin Cervélo @ 42s
4. Shara Gillow (Aus) Bizkaia-Durango @ 1’21”
5. Sharon Laws (GBr) Garmin-Cervélo @ 1’25”


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