The winner of Fleche Wallone?s Women?s World Cup race in 2003, 2005 and 2006, this Wednesday Nicole Cooke has the opportunity to take a record-breaking fourth victory in the Belgian Classic.
However, Cooke told CW?s website that getting one more victory in Fleche Wallone than Italian Fabiana Luperini, whom like Cooke has three wins in her palmares, ?isn?t an objective in itself.?
?I?m more interested in winning, full stop. If you start thinking about what the consequences of that win will be, then you risk losing focus.? Cooke added.
?I?m keeping my approach to Fleche the same as other years. It?s a very unique race with that finale on the Mur de Huy climb, but I?ve got the experience of a metre-by-metre battle [with German Judith Arndt last year] so I want to make the most of that.?
Already the World Cup leader after victories in the Geelong Classic and the Tour of Flanders, a fourth win for Cooke in Fleche would stretch out her overall advantage even further. But the Welshwoman says that she wants to ?keep concentrating on what I can acheive on the day, and not think about the future too much. There?s still a lot of World Cups left to go.?
Cooke named four potential rivals for the Belgian Ardennes Classic as Judith Arndt, Oenene Wood, Trixi Worrack and Marianne Vos. ?They?re all dangerous and will all make the race very interesting.?
The heat will definitely be a factor: temperatures are continuing to soar in Belgium, and latest weather reports say it is expected to reach around 30 degrees on Wednesday in the Huy area.
104 kilometres long, the Fleche Wallone women?s race is due to finish at 14 .58 local time. The men?s race, in which Alejandro Valverde (Caisse D?Epargne) is gunning to repeat last year?s victory, finishes about an hour later. Cycling Weekly will bring you on-the-sporeports of both races soon afterwards.