Britain’s Nicole Cooke has won another stage of the Emakumeen Bira Spanish stage race. The reigning world champion won Saturday afternoon’s short and sharp stage 3b.

The afternoon stage 3b included two long uphills and a steep uphill finish similar to Fleche Wallonne, which was exactly the right terrain for Cooke and her team to strike back after Cooke had lost her race lead in the morning’s stage 3a time trial.

The afternoon’s early action was punctuated by several attacks and ended with the arrival of a 29 rider group in the 20 per cent gradient of the final 300 metres, where Cooke didn’t leave a doubt she has the right to wear her world champion’s jersey.

Cooke beat Judith Arndt (Germany) and Noemi Cantele (Italy) in this hard sprint and is now fourth in the overall and leads the points clasification.

Today (Sunday) sees the riders tackle the tough final stage, with long and steep uphills next to Orduna in the Pyrenees.

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Cooke takes lead in Emakumeen Bira