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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 July, 2004, 17:13 GMT 18:13 UK
Giro win delights Cooke
Nicole Cooke
Nicole Cooke celebrated winning the Giro d'Italia at her first attempt but immediately turned her attention to claiming Olympic gold next month.

The Welsh cyclist, 21, bounced back from knee surgery two months ago to win what is considered to be the women's version of the Tour de France.

"What a great day, winning the Giro was one of my top three objectives of the year," Cooke said.

"Now I have to think about the most important one - the Olympics."

Cooke's victory for the Safi-Pasta Zara-Manhattan team over nine gruelling stages proved her fitness to compete in Athens, where she is still considering what events to ride in.

"Over the next few days I will have to decide if I'll ride track races as well as the road race and time trial, and also decide what my programme will be between now and August," Cooke added.

Although she entered the final sprint stage in Milan with a healthy 49-second lead, Cooke still had to fend off challenges from the likes of Mirjam Melchers, Priska Doppman, and former winner Joanne Sommaribia.

"There was no time to enjoy the day early on when there were a few hills, and loads of attacks," Cooke said.

"But once we got onto the flat stages the whole of the team got on the front with me at the back of the line, and that felt really good."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Nicole Cooke




SEE ALSO
Cooke wins Giro
11 Jul 04  |  Cycling
Boardman backs Cooke
01 Jul 04  |  Cycling
Cooke shows form for Athens
26 Jun 04  |  Cycling
Cooke on course for Athens
15 Jun 04  |  Cycling


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