Nicole Cooke (Fleche Wallonne)

Nicole Cooke has been victorious for a second year running in the Grande Boucle Feminine ? the Women?s Tour de France.

Cooke finished off the race with a second place in the final stage, crossing the line in the same time as Raleigh-Lifeforce team-mate Priska Dopmann.

After a small group of the strongest riders formed on the lower slopes of the Tourmalet, Cooke and Dopmann broke away on the final climb of the race, the Col d?Aspin.

The two then finished together with Dopmann?s victory making it a clean sweep on the stage wins for Raleigh. Their 1-2 win put the perfect seal on Cooke?s second victory in the Grande Boucle. Second on the final gc podium was Dopmann 30 seconds back.

Cooke was not the only Briton to shine on the 105 kilometre final stage from Cauterets to Arreau. Emma Pooley, riding for the Specialized squad, took off alone mid-way through the race to finish 1-24 down on Cooke and Dopmann. Her strong ride earned her third place on the stage and third overall, 4-42 down.

Cooke, along with Saturday?s stage winner and Raleigh team-mate Tanja Slater and Pooley are all due to take part in the British Nationals next Sunday in Beverley where Cooke is defending champion.

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