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6th Flèche Wallonne - CDM

Belgium, April 23, 2003

Main Page     Results     World Cup Standings

Double success for Cooke

By Jeff Jones in Huy

Cooke doubles
Photo © Jeff Tse
Click for larger image

British champion Nicole Cooke (Ausra Gruodis Safi) has claimed her second World Cup victory in four days, with another powerful finish to win the 6th edition of La Flèche Wallonne. Cooke exploded out of the pack at the foot of the final climb of the Mur de Huy to beat Canadian Sue Palmer-Komar and Australian Oenone Wood. Cooke collapsed for several minutes shortly after the finish, having gone completely into the red zone on the climb, but when she recovered she was able to hug and congratulate each of her teammates as they crossed the line.

"I just wound it up on the climb and no-one could stay with me," a delighted Cooke said at the finish. "About the 350m mark I managed to go again. I crossed the line and my legs were impossible. I couldn't even stand up."

Ouch...
Photo © CN
Click for larger image

The four time junior World Champion said that she just ignored the pain and her tiredness from Sunday's Amstel Gold to do it again today. "I think I when I want something so much I'm just going to go," she said. "It's not what capacity my legs have, it's 'I am going to win and if the others come with me I'll just have to go stronger'. Today I gave everything - I was so exhausted when I crossed the line that I couldn't even hold my hand up."

The victory also gave her the lead in the World Cup competition, with her 75 points taking her past Australian Sara Carrigan, who only managed 20th today. Although she was planning a break during the Montreal round of the World Cup, she will now have to rethink her priorities with the World Cup jersey on her shoulders.

"When I go back to Italy I will speak to the team manager and decide," Cooke told Cyclingnews. "I had planned a week off the bike this week and go home for two weeks doing the Montreal World Cup but we shall see."

Australian climber Oenone Wood (AIS) was also happy with her and the team's second podium performance in four days, after Olivia Gollan's second place on Sunday. "It was fantastic," she told Cyclingnews. "It was what we were hoping for. We knew that either myself or Liv were capable of finishing up there. That was our plan."

How it unfolded

The 6th edition of La Flèche Wallonne started in Huy at 12:15 in bright sunshine. The peloton remained together for the first part of the race, with the first attack occurring at kilometre 35 by Virginia Moinard, but she was quickly caught. Sandra Missbach (Farm Frites-Hartol) was next to try on the côte de Bellaire, but met with similar success.

On the côte de Bohissau, the peloton started to break up into smaller groups, however it came back together on the descent, despite several more attacks, notably by Zoulfia Zabirova (Prato Marathon Bike). The Canadian team was strong however, and chased down the powerful Russian, opening up an opportunity for Luisa Tamanini (Team 2002 Aurora RSM) to attack at 25 km to go.

She was quickly caught by the peloton, which now was down to 60 riders. Nicole Cooke (Ausra Gruodis) decided they weren't going fast enough and launched a violent attack on the côte de Ahin. She was chased down by none other than Fabiana Luperini (Team 2002), who was looking for a fourth win in this classic, and the peloton was cut down to 20 riders.

On the descent of the côte de Ahin with 11 km to go, Luperini's teammate Tamanini attacked again, this time opening up a 10 second gap. She reached Huy alone, but was caught be Svetlana Boubnenkova (Prato Marathon Bike) at the foot of the Mur. However the peloton wasn't far behind, and once the Mur began to steepen with 1 km to go, Nicole Cooke surged off the front. Her attack was good, but it wasn't enough to drop the peloton, and the Welsh rider had to surge again with 400m to go on the steepest part of the climb. That proved to be enough, and she kept it going to the line to finish 20 metres ahead of Canadian Sue Palmer-Komar, with Oenone Wood taking third.

Cooke's determination and absolute will to win gained her a second World Cup race, and with five weeks until the next round in Montreal, she could well start thinking of the overall classification.

Photography

Images by Jeff Jones/Cyclingnews.com

Images by Jeff Jones/Cyclingnews.com

Images by Daniel Schamps

Images by Jonathan Kennedy

Results - 97.5 km

1 Nicole Cooke (GBr) Ausra Gruodis-Safi                    2.40.52 (36.36 km/h)
2 Susan Palmer-Komar (Can) Canadian National Team             0.04
3 Oenone Wood (Aus) Australian National Team                  0.09
4 Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu) S.C. Michela Fanini Record Rox      0.11
5 Olivia Gollan (Aus) Australian National Team
6 Nicole Brändli (Swi) Prato Marathon Bike                    0.21
7 Amber Neben (USA) Team T-Mobile USA
8 Fabiana Luperini (Ita) Team 2002 Aurora RSM                 0.23
9 Mirjam Melchers (Ned) Farm Frites-Hartol Cycling Team       0.24
10 Trixi Worrack (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung
11 Teodora Ruano Sanchon (Spa) Prato Marathon Bike
12 Zinaida Stahurskaya (Blr) USC Chirio Forno d'Asolo         0.28
13 Regina Schleicher (Ger) USC Chirio Forno d'Asolo           0.32
14 Lyne Bessette (Can) Canadian National Team
15 Kimberly Bruckner (USA) Team T-Mobile USA                  0.33
16 Aline Camboulives (Fra) G.S. Mazza                         0.36
17 Zoulfia Zabirova (Rus) Prato Marathon Bike                 0.37
18 Sonia Huguet (Fra) French National Team                    0.41
19 Judith Arndt (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung          0.43
20 Sara Carrigan (Aus) Bik-Powerplate
21 Anita Valen (Nor) Bik-Powerplate
22 Magali Le Floch (Fra) French National Team                 0.45
23 Sandy Espeseth (Can) Canadian National Team
24 Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) Team Catalunya-Aliverti-Kookai     0.47
25 Corine Hierckens (Bel) Bik-Powerplate                      0.51
26 Svetlana Boubnenkova (Rus) Prato Marathon Bike             0.57
27 Natalya Kachalka (Ukr) Team 2002 Aurora RSM                0.59
28 Jolanta Polikeviciute (Ltu) Team 2002 Aurora RSM           1.10
29 Kimberly Anderson (USA) Team T-Mobile USA                  1.11
30 Kristin Armstrong (USA) Team T-Mobile USA                  1.22
31 Luisa Tamanini (Ita) Team 2002 Aurora RSM                  1.54
32 Sarah Düster (Ger) German National Team                    2.07
33 Barbara Heeb (Swi) Swiss National Team                     2.18
34 Miho Oki (Jpn) Farm Frites-Hartol Cycling Team             2.42
35 Evy Van Damme (Bel) Belgian National Team                  2.58
36 Rasa Polikeviciute (Ltu) Team 2002 Aurora RSM
37 Marianna Lorenzoni (Ita) Team Catalunya-Aliverti-Kookai
38 Tina Liebig (Ger) German National Team                     3.02
39 Ghita Beltman (Ned) Acca Due O Pasta Zara Lorena Camici    3.03
40 Sarah Grab (Swi) Swiss National Team
41 Heidi Van De Vijver (Bel) Vlaanderen-T-Interim Ladies T    3.08
42 Lisbeth Simper (Den) S.C. Michela Fanini Record Rox        3.09
43 Adrie Visser (Ned) Dutch National Team
44 Hayley Rutherford (Aus) Australian National Team
45 Baukje Doedee (Ned) Team Catalunya-Aliverti-Kookai         3.13
46 Andrea Bosman (Ned) Bik-Powerplate                         3.14
47 Isabella Wieser (Aut) Austrian National Team               3.17
48 Daniela Porta (Ita) USC Chirio Forno d'Asolo               3.20
49 Annette Beutler (Swi) Swiss National Team                  3.21
50 Delphine Guille (Fra) French National Team                 3.22
51 Vera Koedooder (Ned) Bik-Powerplate
52 Cindy Pieters (Bel) Vlaanderen-T-Interim Ladies Team       3.25
53 Ioulia Martissova (Rus) Prato Marathon Bike
54 Katia Longhin (Ita) Acca Due O Pasta Zara Lorena Camici    3.28
55 Chantal Beltman (Ned) Acca Due O Pasta Zara Lorena Cami    3.30
56 Sandrine Marcuz (Fra) S.C. Michela Fanini Record Rox
57 Marta Evangelisti (Ita) S.C. Michela Fanini Record Rox     3.36
58 Eneritz Iturriaga (Spa) Team 2002 Aurora RSM               3.48
59 Liane Bäher (Ger) German National Team                     3.52
60 Juliette Vandekerckhove (Fra) French National Team         3.55
61 Angela Brodtka (Ger) German National Team                  4.02
62 Tanja Hennes (Ger) Team Next 125                           4.10
63 Zita Urbonaite (Ltu) Acca Due O Pasta Zara Lorena Camic    4.14
64 Elsbeth Vink (Ned) Farm Frites-Hartol Cycling Team         4.24
65 Sharon Van Dromme (Bel) Vlaanderen-T-Interim Ladies Tea    5.39
66 Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) Ondernemers Van Nature                5.50
67 Meredith Miller (USA) Team S.A.T.S                         6.02
68 Andrea Graus (Aut) Austrian National Team                  7.01
69 Anja Nobus (Bel) Belgian National Team                     7.12
70 Emma Davies (GBr) British National Team                    7.16
71 Katy Saint Laurent (Can) Canadian National Team            7.19
72 Gunn-Rita Dahle (Nor) Ausra Gruodis-Safi                   7.20
73 Theresa Senff (Ger) German National Team
74 Irène Hostettler (Swi) Team Next 125                       7.25
75 Nathalie Bates (Aus) Australian National Team
76 Areke Hassink (Ned) Dutch National Team                    7.45
77 Erin Carter (Can) Canadian National Team                   7.47
78 Trine Hansen (Den) Team S.A.T.S                            8.16
79 Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Ausra Gruodis-Safi                  8.53
80 Petra Rossner (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung         9.02
81 Giovanna Troldi (Ita) S.C. Michela Fanini Record Rox       9.47
82 Ilse Geldhof (Bel) Belgian National Team                  10.43
83 Pernille Jakobsen (Den) Team S.A.T.S                      11.05
84 Anouska Van Der Zee (Ned) Farm Frites-Hartol Cycling Te   11.27
85 Priska Doppmann (Swi) Swiss National Team                 11.32
86 Mari Holden (USA) Team T-Mobile USA                       11.47
87 Jennifer Manefield (Aus) Australian National Team
88 Marta Villajosana (Spa) Team Catalunya-Aliverti-Kookai
89 Josephine Groenveld (Ned) Dutch National Team             11.51
90 Laure Werner (Bel) Vlaanderen-T-Interim Ladies Team
91 Caroline Payot-Podevin (Fra) G.S. Mazza                   11.53
92 Esther Van Der Helm (Ned) Farm Frites-Hartol Cycling Te   11.57
93 Cornelia Cyrus (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung       12.00
94 Katherine Bates (Aus) Bik-Powerplate                      12.04
95 Bettina Kuhn (Swi) Swiss National Team                    12.09
96 Margaret Hemsley (Aus) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung     12.20
97 Ludivine Henrion (Bel) Belgian National Team              12.52
98 Charlotte Goldsmith (GBr) British National Team           14.59
99 Karina Louise Sorensen (Den) Team S.A.T.S                 15.10
100 Rochelle Gilmore (Aus) Ausra Gruodis-Safi                15.15
101 Anna Ramirez Bauxel (Spa) Team Catalunya-Aliverti-Kook   15.24
102 Mette Andreasen (Den) Team S.A.T.S                       15.32
103 Julie Hutsebaut (Can) Canadian National Team             15.39
104 Sandra Missbach (Ger) Farm Frites-Hartol Cycling Team    15.48
105 Janildes Fernandes Silva (Bra) Prato Marathon Bike
106 Mirjam Senn (Swi) Team Next 125                          15.54
107 Claudia Stumpf (Ger) German National Team
108 Bertine Spijkerman (Ned) Dutch National Team             18.00

World Cup standings after round 5

1 Nicole Cooke (GBr) Ausra Gruodis-Safi                        157 pts
2 Sara Carrigan (Aus) Bik-Powerplate                           140
3 Mirjam Melchers (Ned) Farm Frites - Hartol Cycling Team      124
4 Regina Schleicher (Ger) Usc Chirio Forno D'asolo             120
5 Zoulfia Zabirova (Rus) Prato Marathon Bike                    94
6 Olivia Gollan (Aus) Australian National Team                  89
7 Anita Valen (Nor) Bik-Powerplate                              82
8 Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu) S.C. Michela Fanini Record Rox        76
9 Oenone Wood (Aus) Australian National Team                    75
10 Rochelle Gilmore (Aus) Ausra Gruodis-Safi                    74
11 Judith Arndt (Ger) Nürnberger Versicherung                   72
12 Virginie Moinard (Fra) French National Team                  57
13 Alison Wright (Aus) Australian National Team                 55
14 Susan Palmer-Komar (Can) Canadian National Team              50
15 Katie Mactier (Aus) Saturn                                   50
16 Nicole Brändli (Swi) Prato Marathon Bike                     45
17 Melissa Holt (NZl) Rona                                      30
18 Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) Team Catalunya Aliverti Kookai       29
19 Kristin Armstrong (USA) Team T-Mobile USA                    27
20 Nathalie Bates (Aus) Australian National Team                24
21 Amber Neben (USA) Team T-Mobile USA                          22
22 Magali Le Floch (Fra) French National Team                   21
23 Katherine Bates (Aus) Bik-Powerplate                         21
24 Sophie Creux (Fra) French National Team                      20
25 Fabiana Luperini (Ita) Team 2002 Aurora Rsm                  18
26 Lyne Bessette (Can) Canadian National Team                   18
27 Petra Rossner (Ger) Nürnberger Versicherung                  18
28 Racher Heal (GBr) British National Team                      18
29 Theresa Senff (Ger) German National Team                     16
30 Sharon Van Dromme (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim Ladies Tea      15
31 Teodora Ruano Sanchon (Spa) Prato Marathon Bike              14
32 Zinaida Stahurskaya (Blr) Usc Chirio Forno D'asolo           12
33 Aline Camboulives (Fra) G.S. Mazza                           12
34 Trixi Worrack (Ger) Nürnberger Versicherung                  11
35 Diana Ziliute (Ltu) Acca Due O Pasta Zara Lorena Camici      11
36 Miho Oki (Jpn) Farm Frites - Hartol Cycling Team             10
37 Andrea Bosman (Ned) Bik-Powerplate                           10
38 Ioulia Martissova (Rus) Prato Marathon Bike                   9
39 Alexis Rhodes (Aus)                                           9
40 Ghita Beltman (Ned) Acca Due O Pasta Zara Lorena Camici       7
41 Kimberly Bruckner (USA) Team T-Mobile USA                     6
42 Vera Carrara (Ita)                                            6
43 Rosa Maria Bravo Soba (Spa)                                   5
44 Svetlana Boubnenkova (Rus) Prato Marathon Bike                4
45 Natalya Kachalka (Ukr) Team 2002 Aurora Rsm                   4
46 Amy Safe (Aus)                                                4
47 Sonia Huguet (Fra) French National Team                       3
48 Adrie Visser (Ned) Dutch National Team                        3
49 Elizabeth Williams (Aus)                                      3
50 Hayley Rutherford (Aus) Australian National Team              2
51 Renee Fortunato (Aus)                                         2
52 Margaret Hemsley (Aus) Nürnberger Versicherung                1