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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 April 2007, 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
Cooke powers to Belgium victory
Nicole Cooke
Cooke has stretched her lead in the World Cup standings
Welsh cyclist Nicole Cooke continued her remarkable start to the season by claiming the second stage of the World Cup with victory in Belgium.

Cooke, who started her title defence by winning in Australia last month, edged out Kazakhstan's Zoulfia Zabirova for the Tour of Flanders title.

The pair had broken away from a pack of six in the final two kilometres, with Cooke then winning the sprint finish.

Holland's Marianne Vos took third after a vain attempt to catch the breakaway.

Cooke, 23, has now won five of her six races this season, and said: "I can't begin to describe how happy I am at this win.

We won't get carried away with that with two more hard World Cup races coming up

Nicole Cooke

"Flanders is the Queen of the Classics, it's one of the great races, and now I've won it.

"I'm also really, really pleased at the way we won this. It was another incredible team performance, not just from Karin (Thürig) who did so much in the breaks, but the whole Raleigh-Lifeforce squad.

"Having a numerical advantage in the break we had the opportunity to try and control what happened, and we did that to perfection.

"I just hope that some time soon one of the other riders on the Raleigh-Lifeforce squad will have a chance to win, so they can show how good they are in their own right.

"It's been a fantastic start to the season, and a good result for us here, but we certainly won't get carried away with that with two more hard World Cup races coming up in quick succession."

Those stages take place in the Netherlands next weekend, before a return to Belgium for the fourth stage.

Cooke wins first race of season
01 Mar 07 |  Cycling
Cooke crowned World Cup champion
03 Sep 06 |  Cycling


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