Cooke's dad detained by police

Nicole Cooke's father was held by Greek police on the eve of the women's road race after being found

Nicole Cooke's father was held by Greek police on the eve of the women's road race after being found
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Tony Cooke, the father of Welsh cycling phenomenon Nicole Cooke, has been questioned by Greek police after he was interrupted by them while apparently painting his daughter's name on a central Athens street. Cooke, reputed throughout British cycling as his daughter's most voluble champion, was taken for questioning by Greek police with his companion, Richard Owen, before later being released. "He wrote the name on the road to encourage her because she is in the race tomorrow," said a Greek Ministry of Public Order spokesperson on Saturday. Cooke, also his daughter's coach, was detained after the police saw him at around 10.15pm on Friday evening in Erodotuou Street, central Athens. Painting names on the road prior to cycling races is, of course, a well-known tradition in European cycling. It was reported that Cooke had not finished writing his daughter's name when he was taken into custody. Meanwhile, his daughter had been hoping to avoid any pre-race tensions by staying away from the Olympic village on the coast at Varkiza, close to the start and finish of this Wednesday's time trial event at Vouliagmeni. A terse Nicole Cooke refused to comment on her father's activities shortly before this afternoon's women's road race started but Philip Pope, of the British Olympic Association, said: "We are responsible for looking after the athletes. This is a matter for the Cooke family."
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