Cooke takes World Cup lead

Zoulfia Zabirova took the fifth round of the World Cup in Berne on Sunday, but fifth place for Brita

Zoulfia Zabirova took the fifth round of the World Cup in Berne on Sunday, but fifth place for Brita

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Britain's Nicole Cooke took the lead in the World Cup standings when she finished fifth behind Kazakhstan's Zoulfia Zabirova on Sunday in the Tour de Berne, the fifth leg of the series. Second place on the day for defending World Cup champion Oenone Wood moved her into second place in the standings behind Cooke.

The race came just four days after Cooke had taken a hard-fought victory in Flche Wallonne, and took place over six laps of a 20km course that included a tough climb. Buitenpoort's Amber Neben and then Bigla's Nicole Brandli both made solo efforts, but going into the final lap only Fenixs rider Olga Zabelinskaya was still clear of the peloton.

She was caught on the final climb, where World Cup leader Ina Teutenberg was dropped. A lead group of about 25 riders seemed set to decide things in a sprint, but Bigla's Zabirova jumped clear a kilometre from the line and stayed away to the finish.
"I needed to finish ahead of Ina and not allow Oenone (Wood) to make up too many places on me," said 2003 World Cup winner Cooke. "That meant making a split. I was then alone in the break and had to work very hard to cover a lot of moves by teams with more than one rider there. That left me quite tired for the sprint but it worked out well as Oenone finished second."

The sixth leg of the series, the Grand Prix de Castilla y Leon, takes place around the Spanish city of Valladolid on May 7.

1 Zoulfia Zabirova (Kaz) Bigla 124.7km in 3.02.06
2 Oenone Wood (Aus) Nrnberger Versicherung 0.02
3 Olga Slyusareva (Rus) Russia
4 Judith Arndt (Ger) T-Mobile
5 Nicole Cooke (GB) Univega
6 Modesta Vzesniauskaite (Lit) FRW
7 Marianne Vos (Hol) Holland
8 Annette Beutler (Swi) Elk Haus
9 Edita Pucinskaite (Lit) Nobili Rubinetterie
10 Trixi Worrack (Ger) Nrnberger Versicherung

World Cup standings

1 Nicole Cooke (GB) Univega 144
2 Wood 130
3 Ina Teutenberg (Ger) T-Mobile
4 Zabirova 105
5 Arndt 95
6 Beutler 76
7 Mirjam Melchers-Van Poppel (Hol) Buitenpoort 75
7 Sarah Ulmer (NZ) New Zealand 75
7 Miho Oki (Jap) Nobili Rubinetterie 75
10 Christiane Soeder (Aut) Univega 59

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