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Last Updated: Monday, 7 July, 2003, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK
Cooke clinches stage two
Stage Two: La Ferté-sous-Jouarre - Sedan - 204.5km.

Baden Cooke wins the second stage
Cooke's win was number two for Australia in this year's Tour
Australian Baden Cooke produced a stunning sprint finish to win the second stage of the Tour de France.

The 24-year-old rider crossed the line after five hours in the saddle to claim his first ever Tour stage.

Las Boulangere rider Jean-Patrick Nazon came second ahead of veteran Estonian sprinter Jaan Kirsipuu.

Cooke's team-mate and compatriot Bradley McGee, who won the prologue on Saturday, kept the race leader's yellow jersey.

McGee is four seconds ahead of Scotland's David Millar and Cooke in the overall standings.

Defending champion Lance Armstrong finished in the main bunch and recorded the same time as Cooke.

Lilian Jegou (Credit Agricole) and Frederic Finot (Jean Delatour) made an early breakaway at the 5km mark.

At one point the pair were 11 minutes clear of the peleton but Jegou dropped back into the chasing pack 25km from the finish. Finot bravely kept going but was eventually swallowed up just 4km from the line.

McGee played his part in helping his lesser-ranked team-mate to victory, leading out the sprint in the final stages.

"My team-mates did a great job today and especially Brad in the final two kilometres," said Cooke.

"It's unbelievable. I stayed behind Kirsipuu who looked strong. I made my move and I won," he added.

American Tyler Hamilton managed to complete the second stage, despite having fractured his collarbone on Sunday in a crash involving about 35 riders.

Hamilton finished 100 out of the 196 riders in Monday's stage to lie eighth overall.

Two riders injured in Sunday's crash, Marc Lotz of the Netherlands and US cyclist Levi Leipheimer, were unable to race Monday.

Stage Two results:

1. Baden Cooke (Australia) 5 hours 6 minutes 33 seconds
2. Jean-Patrick Nazon (France) Jean Delatour
3. Jaan Kirsipuu (Estonia) AG2R
4. Erik Zabel (Germany) Team Telekom
5. Thor Hushovd (Norway) Credit Agricole
6. Robbie McEwen (Australia) Lotto
7. Paolo Bettini (Italy) Quick Step
8. Stuart O'Grady (Australia) Credit Agricole
9. Fred Rodriguez (U.S.) Vini Caldirola
10. Mikel Artetxe (Spain) Euskaltel

Overall standings:

1. Bradley McGee (Aus/ 8 hours 58 minutes 28 seconds
2. David Millar (GB/Cofidis) at 0:04secs
3. Baden Cooke (Aus/
same time
4. Haimar Zubeldia (Sp/Euskaltel) at 0:06secs
5. Jan Ullrich (Ger/Team Bianchi) same time
6. Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fr/Jean Delatour) same time
7. Victor Hugo Pena (Col/US Postal Service) 0:10secs
8. Tyler Hamilton (US/Team CSC) same time
9. Andy Flickinger (Fr/AG2R) same time
10. Lance Armstrong (US/US Postal Service) 0:11secs

Links to more Tour de France 2003 stories


BBC Five Live's Simon Brotherton
"What a start to the Tour by Australia"

Australia's Baden Cooke
"I stayed calm and left it to the last minute"




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