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World number one Oenone Wood (Team Nrnberger) has successfully defended her World Cup crown, claiming the prestigious series for the second year running. Wood, 24, crossed in third place in Sunday's 11th and final round in Nrnberg, Germany, which offered double points. The 117km race was won by Italian national team rider Giorgia Bronzini, ahead of Australia's Rochelle Gilmore (Safi-Pasta Zara).
Wood went into the finale with a 25-point lead over two-time world champion, Susanne Ljungskog (Buitenpoort-Flexpoint) and a 73-point margin over Ljungskog's team-mate, Dutch rider Mirjam Melchers-Van Poppel, with both a threat to her crown.
"It was pretty aggressive throughout with lots of attacks but our team just kept an eye on everything and kept it under control," said Wood. "I had to watch Mirjam and Susanne the whole day. They took turns to attack and I had to counter."
But the well-oiled Nrnberger machine had it covered and as the final sprint approached they headed to the front to set Wood up for the sprint. "I got a fabulous lead-out from the team but I started my sprint a little too early which cost me the race win," said Wood. "I had an awesome gap but I think I got a little bit too excited when I saw the finish line and just misjudged it at the end.
"All our big sponsors were here and this race means a lot for our team so that added a little bit of extra pressure," said Wood. "I was very relieved to be able to deliver on the day and to win the World Cup for a second time is fantastic."
Wood won the series with a total of 378 points with consistent performances across the 11 rounds. Ljungskog second overall in the series with 299 points, while Melcher-Van Poppel was third on 255 points.
Wood will now head to Novellara in Italy to prepare for next week's World Championships in Madrid, where she will ride both the time trial and the road race together with Olympic champion Sara Carrigan. The pair will be joined by Katherine Bates, Natalie Bates, Olivia Gollan and Helen Kelly in the road race.
Australia's elite men's team for the road race championship a week on Sunday comprises Baden Cooke, Allan Davis, Cadel Evans, Mathew Hayman, Robbie McEwen, Brad McGee, Michael Rogers, Rory Sutherland and Henk Vogels. McGee and defending champion Rogers are joined by Ben Day in the time trial event.
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