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GP Plouay - CDM
France, August 23-24, 2003
Nicole Cooke's flashy comeback after a long break
By Jean-François Quénet in Plouay
Nicole Cooke from Wales has won the 7th leg of the women's World Cup in Plouay, France, and increased her lead in the points classification. She now has an advantage of 118 points before the two last races: GP Suisse (Sept. 7th) and Rotterdam Tour (Sept. 14th). With 75 points allocated to the winner of each leg and 50 for the runner up, it's now highly likely that the 20 year old British cyclist will win her first overall World Cup title this year.
"It's a dream," she said after the finish. "I was so upset last year that I couldn't come and do this World Cup race in Plouay... but it was better to wait until I could do a fantastic race here. This is the place where I became the junior World Champion. This is where it all started for me. I have very amazing memories of the World's on this circuit."
It was unknown before the race whether Cooke would be competitive or not. "I had two crashes," she explained. "I first had seven stitches on my knee and again at the end of June I crashed and because of that crash, I had to have the whole month of July without riding my bike. In August I started very low. After 25 days of riding, I was able to win a World Cup, but I was very scared because last time I raced was on the 23rd of June which is a very long time ago. I tried to come back very gradually."
Nothing happened in the GP Plouay until the third of the eight laps when Jeannie Longo accelerated. She inspired former French champion Magali Le Floc'h who went away on her own and got one minute lead but got caught during lap 5. Again it was after an attack from Longo that the bunch split and another French rider took off. Juliette Vandekerckhove had a maximum lead of 55 seconds before she was rejoined by Judith Arndt, Mirjam Melchers, Arenda Grimberg, Joane Somarriba, Maribel Moreno, Nicole Cooke, Modesta Vzisnauskaite and Lyne Bessette, who later disappeared from the front group.
During the last lap, the breakaway split in two and Cooke was the fastest on the finishing line of the circuit Jean-Yves Perron.
Images by AFP Photo
Images by Jean-Francois Quenet
Images by Syd Hancock
1 Nicole Cooke (GBr) Ausra Gruodis-Safi 2.59.45 2 Judith Arndt (Ger) Nurnberger 3 Mirjam Melchers (Ned) Farm Frites-Hartol 4 Joane Somarriba (Spa) Spanish National Team 5 Juliette Vandekerckhove (Fra) French National Team 0.25 6 Arenda Grimberg (Ned) Farm Frites-Hartol 7 Modesta Vzesniauskaite (Lit) Ausra Gruodis-Safi 8 Maribel Moreno (Spa) Spanish National Team 0.30 9 Lyne Bessette (Can) Canadian National Team 1.02 10 Regina Schleicher (Ger) Chirio-Forno d'Absolo 1.21 11 Diana Ziliute (Lit) Acca Due O Pasta Zara 12 Olga Slioussareva (Rus) Russian National Team 13 Madeleine Lindberg (Swe) Nürnberger Versicherung 14 Chantal Beltman (Ned) Acca Due O Pasta Zara 15 Katia Longhin (Ita) Acca Due O Pasta Zara 16 Eneritz Iturriaga (Spa) Spanish National Team 17 Karen Bockel (Ger) Team Rona-Esker 18 Magali Le Floc’h (Fra) Team Rona-Esker 19 Sarah Ulmer (NZL) Team Composite 2 20 Sylvie Riedle (Fra) Bretagne 21 Nadia Triquet (Fra) French National Team 22 Miho Oki (Jap) Farm Frites-Hartol 23 Rosalind Reekkie May (NZL) Team Composite 2 24 Erinne Willock (Can) Team Rona-Esker 25 Isabella Wieser (Aut) Austrian National Team 26 Elisabeth Chevanne-Brunel (Fra) Bretagne 27 Suzanne de Goede (Ned) Farm Frites-Hartol 28 Bogumila Matusiak (Pol) Bonda-Lukowski 29 Marina Khotchenkova (Rus) Chirio-Forno d'Absolo 30 Frances Newstead (GBr) British National Team 31 Andrea Graus (Aut) Austrian National Team 32 Delphine Guillé (Fra) French National Team 33 Emma James (Aus) Team Composite 1 34 Sandrine Marcuz (Fra) French National Team 35 Rachel Heal (GBr) British National Team 36 Christine Soeder (Aut) Austrian National Team 37 Sara Carrigan (Aus) Bik Powerplate 38 Zita Urbonaite (Lit) Acca Due O Pasta Zara 39 Zlatica Bazola (Fra) Ile de France 40 Teodora Ruano (Spa) Spanish National Team 41 Edwige Pitel (Fra) French National Team 42 Jeannie Longo (Fra) Ile de France 43 Manon Jutras (Can) Canadian National Team 44 Sharon van Essen (Ned) 45 Heather Albert (USA) Team Composite 1 46 Susan Palmer (Can) Canadian National Team 47 Alexandra Le Henaff (Fra) Bretagne 1.29 48 Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Ausra Gruodis-Safi 49 Charlotte Goldsmith (GBr) British National Team 50 Andrea Hannos (Can) 51 Christina Redden (Can) Canadian National Team 52 Sarah Grab (Swi) Swiss National Team 53 Indre Januleviciute (Lit) Acca Due O Pasta Zara 54 Catherine Marsal (Fra) Team Rona-Esker 55 Margaret Hemsley (Aus) Nürnberger Versicherung 56 Trixi Worrack (Ger) Nürnberger Versicherung 57 Gaby Buchel (Swi) Swiss National Team 1.49 58 Catherine Hare (GBr) British National Team 1.57
1 Nicole Cooke (GBr) Ausra Gruodis 282 pts 2 Sara Carrigan (Aus) Powerplate Bik 164 3 Mirjam Melchers (Ned) Farm Frites-Hartol 159 4 Judith Arndt (Ger) Nurnberger 157 5 Regina Schleicher (Ger) 131 6 Anita Valen (Nor) 97 7 Zoulfia Zabirova (Rus) 94 8 Olivia Gollan (Aus) 87 9 Katie Mactier (Aus) 80 10 Edita Pucinskaite (Lit) 76