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Page last updated at 18:59 GMT, Saturday, 27 June 2009 19:59 UK

Cooke claims 10th British title

Nicole Cooke
Cooke won her 10th title in her home country of Wales

Nicole Cooke added the British National road race title to her Olympic and world crowns in Abergavenny.

Cooke, 26, won her 10th British jersey, ninth successively to close in on Beryl Burton's national title record of 12.

After initially being controversially stripped of her silver medal as she had already won at under-23 level, Lizzie Armitstead was reinstated as runner-up.

Race chiefs had said Armitstead could not be considered for both titles but that decision was overturned.

British cycling bosses quickly convened a meeting following the farcical circumstances during the presentation ceremony to rethink the decision.

Armitstead had finished a length behind Cooke in second place and narrowly ahead of Emma Pooley in a dramatic sprint finish.

Due to her age the 20-year-old English rider was presented with the national under-23 title which, along with the elite crown, was also being decided around the 80-mile circuit.

606: DEBATE

But race commissaries Colin Crews quickly revealed the racing administrative anomaly - a rule he insisted was part of cycling's "international regulations" - to ruin Armitstead's day and to the annoyance of the booing crowd.

So Londoner Pooley was initially named the official runner-up ahead of Catherine Williamson.

Pooley, the 2008 Olympic time-trial silver medallist who recently won the women's equivalent of the Tour de France, looked embarrassed receiving the national silver.

Eventually, British cycling reinstated Armitstead as runner-up and Pooley - who threatened to give her silver to Armitstead anyway - was awarded the bronze medal for finishing third.

The farcical circumstances, however, could not overshadow Cooke's incredible achievement as the Welsh rider closes in Burton's 12 national title wins between 1959 and 1974.

The two-time World Cup winner quickly joined a breakaway pack that included Armitstead, Pooley and Williamson early on in the 80-mile race around the lanes of Monmouthshire and streets of Abergavenny.

Williamson, though, dropped off and Cooke held of Armitstead and Pooley to clinch her 10th title in 11 years in a dramatic sprint finish after almost three-and-half hours of cycling in South Wales.

"The home crowd spurred me on definitely," said Vale of Glamorgan star Cooke.

"It is a great to have people cheering and coming down the finishing straight was incredible as was the applause after I won.

"I couldn't have dreamed of winning my 10th title in a better place than back home in Wales."



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see also
Nicole Cooke's video diary
26 Jun 09 |  Cycling
Cooke bids for 10th British title
18 Jun 09 |  Cycling


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