Nicole Cooke clinched Britain’s first gold medal at the weekend, winning the Olympic road race from a breakaway group of five.

Cooke, 25, has been victorious in just about every significant woman’s race, and the Olympic gold medal represents one of her biggest victories and the pinnacle of her incredible career. The pressure was heavy on Cooke’s shoulders, with many expecting her to deliver. She didn’t disappoint.

The 126km race was run in horrid conditions, with heavy rain falling throughout the 3hr 32mins 24sec of racing. Following numerous attacks, the winning group came down to five riders; Emma Johansson (Sweden), Christiane Soeder (Austria), Linda Melanie (Denmark) and Tatiana Guderzo (Italy).

Coming out of the final corner and onto the uphill stretch to the finish line, there was some mild shock as Cooke dropped off the back of the bunch, but the Welsh rider quickly jumped across the small gap and, with 200m to go, launched her final and decisive sprint for Olympic success.

"We did it, it was perfect. It's a dream come true," Cooke said afterwards.

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