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Nicole Cooke wins race gold
August 10, 2008 16:05 IST
Nicole Cooke won Britain's first gold of the Games after surviving an uphill sprint finish in the pouring rain in the women's Olympic [Images] 126-km road race on Sunday.
After a slippery ride on the hilly roads around the Great Wall, Cooke narrowly beat Sweden's Emma Johansson who took the silver and Tatiana Guderzo of Italy [Images] who came in third.
"I did it, I did it," screamed Cooke, who rode a carbon fibre bicycle especially designed for the Beijing [Images] Games, as she rushed to hug fellow British cyclists after the finish.
The women survived several crashes during a very wet race that began in ancient Beijing and wound its way out to the Great Wall of China where the cyclists completed two laps of a hilly, 24-km circuit between two sections of the wall.
Cooke's team mate Sharon Laws said the team expected the race would be decided on the second lap of the circuit.
On the second lap Cooke's third team mate Emma Pooley helped catch Russian Natalia Boyarskaya who had pulled into the lead on the steepest part of the first climb and had been leading for about 45 minutes.
"Everything went according to plan," Laws said. "We're very pleased."
The riders said the conditions -- which started out very hot with suffocating humidity and ended in heavy downpours -- were very difficult.
"These were the worst conditions we've had all year," said American Amber Neben. "But that's road racing."
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