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Saturday, 27 July, 2002, 12:49 GMT 13:49 UK

Time for Cooke to bounce back

By Bruce Pope
BBC Sport Online in Rivington

Welsh cyclist Nicole Cooke spoke of her disappointment after finishing 10th in the Commonwealth Games road time trial at Rivington on Saturday.

"Obviously I'm disappointed," Cooke said. "Undoubtedly I underperformed; I didn't have the power or the pace."

Cooke - a four-time junior world champion - was tipped among the medal favourites after a fine year during which she has successfully made the step up to senior level.

The 19-year-old was caught and passed by eventual bronze medallist Lyne Bessette at the end of the first lap, and again by Australia's Anna Millward - the defending champion - in the second and final lap.

The 23.4km race was won by Bessette's Canadian team-mate Clara Hughes in a time of 34 minutes 51.66 seconds.

"Maybe it does take the pressure off "
Nicole Cooke

Cooke was the only cyclist in the 20-strong field to use a road bike set-up, although with tri-bars, while the rest of the field opted for the low profile machines favoured by most time trialists.

However, the youngster from Wick in the Vale of Glamorgan denied that her choice of equipment had undermined her challenge and refused to use it as an excuse.

"I'm happy with the bike, there was no problem there," Cooke said, adding that she would now concentrate on preparing for Thursday's points race and then the road race on Saturday.

"Maybe it does take the pressure off but I need time to reflect on what went wrong."

Cooke, whose team-mate Nina Davies finished 16th, always had the road race as her main target at the Commonwealth Games and there is a good omen for success.

Two years ago at the World Junior Championships in Plouay, she also came 10th in the time trial before bouncing back to take the road race crown, and Cooke will do her utmost to make sure lightning does strike twice.

Crowd support

There was more disappointment for Wales in the men's time trial when Julian Winn finished in 12th place over the course where he won the British Road Race Championship last month.

But the Abergavenny rider will expect better when the road race is held next Saturday and is pleased to have plenty of support.

He said: "It was difficult today, but the crowds were really good.

"I could see the Welsh flags and it really gave me a lift to see them and hear them shouting my name."

Winn's team-mates - Anthony Malarczyk and Paul Sheppard - finished in 20th and 21st respectively.

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