Cooke disappointed to miss out
Nicole Cooke admits to mixed emotions following her silver medal in the world
road race, which was,
PIC BY WOMENSCYCLING.NET Britain’s Nicole Cooke admitted she was “very disappointed for the first 10 seconds after I crossed the line” but that a career-best second place in the world road race championship was a good result for her at the end of an injury-plagued season. Speaking a few minutes after the finish, it was impossible to miss the unhappiness in the face of the British team leader. “When it came to the final sprint I felt that I was in with a good chance,” said Cooke. “I got in behind Regina and was well positioned. Giorgia [Bronzini] tried to move me aside with a dig with her elbow but I held my place, but then Giorgia got in front of me again when Regina started the sprint and I had to come around her. “I’ve now got a bronze and a silver, but I’ll have to spend another 12 months watching someone else riding in the rainbow jersey. I know Regina’s in her 30s and she probably doesn’t have too many more chances to win, and I’m a lot younger , but I could have won today and it hurts, so I feel very frustrated. I’ll have another year of torture now until next year’s Worlds.” Having reflected for a few more minutes, Cooke was more upbeat in her assessment, and was full of praise for her team-mates. “I wasn’t in my best form and on the fourth lap I started to fall back on one of the long drags. When you’re racing at that speed it’s easier to be nearer the front than trying to race hard at the back of the bunch, which can be a bit demoralising. But the team got around me and guided me back up the bunch and kept me out of the wind well. The team is getting stronger all the time and getting a lot more experienced. Overall, I’m happy with the way things went as I was up against the best sprinters in the world.” New world champion Schleicher was elated in ‘it hasn’t really hit me yet’ way after her victory. “It was the perfect race for us, the whole team worked well, especially at the end, and I got in the ideal position for the sprint,” the German explained. Her only complaint was at the 9am start time, which meant there were few spectators watching the race or acclaiming the podium finishers at the end. “There weren’t many people out there watching and there probably weren’t that many watching on TV either so early in the day. Last year the race was in the afternoon, which is better for women’s cycling as this is one of the few races in the year that gets televised. We don’t get a lot of media coverage as it is and this does not help when it comes to finding sponsors.” Bronze medallist Oenone Wood was beaming at the finish, her third place coming at the end of a long season when she has retained her World Cup title. This latest success came on her 25th birthday, giving her double reason to celebrate in Madrid tonight having completed her racing season. “It was a very good course, very fast, and the climbs were hard enough to make it a hard race. It was tough for riders to get clear because the pace was so high and the roads so wide,” she said. “I was the team’s pick if it came down to a sprint because I’ve got the best sprinting legs at the moment, but I didn’t have quite enough in my legs to get up to Regina. “It was a very aggressive race because there is simply no way that you can let riders like Joane Somarriba get clear. But the team worked well for me.” Asked how the change of the last corner’s layout had changed the race, Wood commented: “It is certainly easier now that it is a roundabout instead of a tight turn backwards, but I didn’t take a good line into it. The bunch closed up a lot going into the corner, and I think I came out of it about 15th wheel. But the run to the line is so long that there is still a chance to make up for a mistake there.” Cooke agreed with this assessment, adding that “it’s better to have a roundabout there because it makes it a lot smoother. It’s also good to have a corner that close to the line because otherwise you really would have a huge sprint for the line and it could be incredibly dangerous.” Interesting thoughts with the men’s race on Sunday in mind.