Nicole Cooke underwent key-hole surgery on her knee last week according to her official website.

Since suffering a couple of serious crashes half-way through the 2003 season the world champion has had a niggling knee injury. After trying all kinds of remedies: correcting a slight ‘mal-tracking’ of the knee-cap, working on muscle flexibility, strength and co-ordination, re-assessing her riding position on the bike, using “wedge" inserts between her cycling shoes and cleats and then finally several weeks working with the doctors and physiotherapists at the English Institute of Sport at Bath without success, the surgery was the next logical step.

Surgeon Jon Webb, former England Rugby fullback, was said to be very pleased with how the operation went and was able to remove an inflamed membrane. Cooke is expected to be back on the bike within days to get back on track for the Olympics and is upbeat about the operation.

"These next few weeks are very important, but I feel confident that the problem has been solved" she said, "this is not ideal preparation for such a demanding event like the road race but I can only look forward and try to make best use of the time available to me now. My ambitions are still as strong as ever and I am very fresh mentally. I have not been racing week after week since March so I have a huge amount of enthusiasm right now."