Cooke defies the rain to take first gold for Great Britain

Society Materials 10 August 2008 17:42 (UTC +04:00)

Nicole Cooke claimed Britain's first gold of the Beijing Olympics Sunday when she proved herself the strongest in an uphill sprint finish to the women's road race at China's Great Wall in JuYongGuan.

Emma Johansson of Sweden had to be satisfied with silver while Tatiana Guderzo of Italy took bronze.

Cooke was part of a five-woman breakaway group that contested the final sprint in driving rain, winning in a time of 3 hours 32 minutes 24 seconds for the testing 126-kilometre long course, which involved a 78.8km ride from Beijing followed by two testing circuits up and down the Badaling Pass.

The group of five riders, which also included Canada's Christiane Soeder and Denmark's Linda Serup, were over 10 seconds clear of the peloton going into the final kilometre and although Cooke looked to be struggling to keep pace, the 23-year-old Welshwoman rallied to power to victory, the dpa reported.