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Last Updated: Monday, 31 July 2006, 11:03 GMT 12:03 UK
Cooke sensing World title glory
Nicole Cooke
Cooke is closing on a second World Cup title
Nicole Cooke says the World Cup title is within her grasp after she stretched her lead to 118 points with a victory and second place over the weekend.

"We're in a commanding position going into the final three races," said Cooke whose Univega Raleigh Lifeforce team also leads the standings.

"We've put in a lot of hard work in the last couple of months," added the new world rankings leader.

"So it's good to get the results to reward the effort."

A successful weekend for Cooke started on Friday with second place in the eighth stage in Sweden.

The 23-year-old Welsh cyclist was piped to first place in a sprint finish, but with main rival Judith Arndt out of the points, Cooke extended her overall lead to 99 points.

On Sunday, Cooke led her team to a time trial victory in Denmark which represented another huge step towards collecting her second World Cup title.

The weekend results also took her to the top spot in the world rankings for the first time.

The next World Cup stage will be held in France at the end of August, and Cooke says she has fond memories of the course in Plouay.

"I'm looking forward to that one because that's where I won my first junior world title and the World Cup back in 2003," Cooke told BBC Wales Sport.

"After that, we're off to Rotterdam and then Nurnberger for the final stages.

"And just to add some more excitement to the World Cup, the final race counts as double points so it really won't be over until we cross that line in Germany."

World Cup standings:

1. Nicole Cooke (GB) 354 points
2. Judith Arndt (Ger) 236 pts
3. Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) 197 pts
4. Oenone Wood (Aus) 170 pts
5. Annette Beutler (Swi) 166 pts

Remaining World Cup rounds:

Grand Prix Plouay, France (26 August)
Rotterdam Tour, Holland (3 September)
Rund um die Nurnberger Altstadt, Germany (10 September)

BBC Sport Wales coverage
01 May 06 |  Wales
Cooke storms to Denmark victory
30 Jul 06 |  Cycling
Cooke stretches World Cup margin
29 Jul 06 |  Cycling
Cooke revels in powerful support
24 Jul 06 |  Cycling
Cooke's World Cup advantage cut
28 May 06 |  Cycling


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