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Nicole Cooke extended her lead in the World Cup when she won Sunday's sixth leg in the season-long series, the Gran Premio Castilla y Leon, in Valladolid in western Spain. Cooke took the six-rider sprint for the line, capitalising on some great support work from her Univega team-mates.
They were prominent in chasing down a lone attack by Italy's Noemie Cantele (Bigla) with just two laps of an 8km city centre circuit remaining. Having chased down that break, Univega's Priska Dopmann made one of her own, allowing Cooke to sit in while her rivals were forced to chase.
"My team were fantastic," said Cooke. "As we came into the last lap with just 8km to go, my team-mate Priska Dopmann attacked the leading group. I was able to sit in that group while other teams had to chase Priska. When they caught her, with under 2km to go, they had all worked very hard. Come the sprint finish, my other team-mate, Joanne Kiesanowsky was able to help me."
Cooke's victory came a month after a first World Cup success of the season at Flche Wallonne. The Welshwoman, who won the World Cup title in 2003, now goes on to the prestigious Tour de l'Aude stage race in south-west France starting on Friday, before defending her 74-point World Cup lead in Montreal on May 27.
"I am certainly not looking too far ahead. In the last two seasons there have been crashes and I'm just happy to be leading," said Cooke.
1 Nicole Cooke (GB) Univega 123km in 3.22.42
2 Judith Arndt (Ger) T-Mobile
3 Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) Buitenpoort
4 Theresa Senff (Ger) Van Bemmelen
5 Diana Ziliute (Lit) Safi-Pasta Zara
6 Loes Gunnewijk (Hol) Buitenpoort
7 Edita Pucinskaite (Lit) Nobili Rubinetterie 0.04
8 Olivia Gollan (Aus) Nobili Rubinetterie 0.05
9 Edwige Pitel (Fra) Bianchi 0.11
10 Joanne Kiesanowski (NZ) Univega 0.15
World Cup standings
1 Nicole Cooke (GB) Univega 219
2 Arndt 145
3 Oenone Wood (Aus) Nrnberger Versicherung 140
4 Ina Teutenberg (Ger) T-Mobile 120
5 Zoulfia Zabirova (Kaz) Bigla 105
6 Ljungskog 92
7 Annette Beutler (Swi) Elk Haus 79
8 Mirjam Melchers-van Poppel (Hol) Buitenpoort 75
8 Sarah Ulmer (NZ) 75
8 Miho Oki (Jap) Nobili Rubinetterie 75
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