This report from www.nicolecooke.com
Nicole maintained her overall series lead with her third podium of the 2006 series. She was narrowly beaten by her closest overall rival Judith Arndt who took her first victory in this year’s competition.
The Montreal course was modified to have slightly longer laps, covered 11 times rather than 12, but the large crowds had to wait until the latter stages for much action from the biggest ever World Cup peloton of 120 riders.
The early laps were rather lack lustre with no attacks, just a steady attrition rate of tired riders either falling off the pace, or pulling out completely. One early departure was defending World Cup Champion Oenone Wood currently third in this years standings. The Australian climbed off after 3 laps, and only 49 riders finished the full distance within the time limit.
With three laps to go French rider Elodie Touffet (Nobili) made a break. She built up a lead of around a minute and a half from a further twenty riders, including Nicole and Judith Arndt.
Touffet maintained her lead until the final ascent of Mont Royal apporaching the finish, but was swept up as the two main protagonists played out the decisive last few kilometres, shattering the chasing group in the process. Arndt launched her move around 200 metres from the line, and although Nicole was able to take her wheel the German just held on to take the victory. 50 points for second place move Nicole on to 269, 49 ahead of Arndt after her 75 points for winning. The next round is on July 28th in Sweden.
Nicole said afterwards:
“This was a strange race. It was very negative, and I was quite surprised that there weren’t more attacks.”
“Having said that I know from my own Univega-Raleigh-Lifeforce
team mates who’d ridden the Tour de l’Aude that there was a little tiredness as a cosequence, and I think looking around at some of the other European riders that was probably a factor in the slow racing.”
“From that point of view it shows that we made the right decision for me not to race for a week and a half in France, and it paid off with another podium place here. I finished 2nd just as I did here in 2003, and the key to success in the series is consistent placing.”
“At the finale today I was able to follow Judith’s move, but couldn’t quite come round her and she deserved the win because she was the strongest in the sprint on the day.”
“I’m delighted to still be in the leaders jersey, and with five races to go it’s going to be very interesting. We have a two month break from the World Cup now and the remaining rounds include a variety of different races, including for the first time a team trial.”
“That’s going to make it a fascinating conclusion, but I’m confident that with the team we have we can play a major part in that.”
Rachel Heal finished a creditable 11th and the overall standings in the Cup mean that Nicole will have to keep an eye on Arndt as they head towards the next round in Sweden.
Montreal World Cup – Results
1. Judith Arndt (Ger) T-Mobile 3.11.52
2. Nicole Cooke (GBr) Univega
3. Kristin Armstrong (USA) Lipton 0.03
4. Annette Beutler (Swi) Elk Haus No
5. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Nurnberger Versicherung 0.13
6. Erinne Willock (Can) Webcor-Platinum
7. Sue Palmer-Komar (Can) Équipe du Canada 0.19
8. Christine Thorburn (USA) Webcor-Platinum
9. Edwige Pitel (Fra) Pruneaux d’Agen- Bianchi Aliverti Kookai 0.24
10. Kori Seehafer (USA) Lipton 0.30
11. Rachel Heal (GBr) Victory Brewing s.t.
World Cup Series – Overall Standings after 6 rounds of 12
1. Nicole Cooke (GBr) – Univega Raleigh Lifeforce – 269 points
2. Judith Arndt (Ger) – T-Mobile – 220 points
3. Oenone Wood (Aus) – Nurnberger Versicherung – 140 points
4. Ina Teutenberg (Ger) – T-Mobile – 120 points
5. Annette Beutler (Swi) – Elk Haus No – 109 points