By Jean-François Quénet in Plouay
Collecting a win and three other places in the top 10 of the GP Ouest France-Plouay, the Italian women helped shape the outcome of the penulitimate world cup event for 2007, setting the stage for a battle ultimately between Nicole Cooke (Raleigh Lifeforce Pro Cycling Team) and Marianne Vos (DSB Bank).
One of the major attacks of the day came from Marta Bastianelli (Italian National Team), who ultimately finished third for the day. The 20 year-old Italian from Rome went solo with 35km to go. But afterward, she had second thoughts. "Maybe I shouldn't have done that because I was lacking the necessary energy for racing for the win at the end?" she contemplated
Noemi Cantele (Bigla), Nicole Cooke (Raleigh), Oenone Wood (T-Mobile) and Bastianelli eventually formed a group of four off the front, and Italian Cantele would ultimately take the win.
She attacked on the last climb. "I tried three times," she said. "I knew I had to finish alone in order to win. Two years ago, there were two of us sprinting for the win when I won for the first time here, but I said to myself, 'I have to get rid of them in the climb.' I gave all my energy. When I heard that I was 25 seconds away, I understood the win was mine. It allowed me to enjoy the win much more than two years ago. Alone is definitely the best way to win a race."
In addition to first and third, Giorgia Bronzini (Italian National Team) and Monia Baccaille (Saccarelli EMU Marsciano) finished fifth and sixth.
Cooke's second place gave her 50 more points for the World Cup, giving her a fairly comfortable 80 point lead over Vos. The duo will go head to head at the final event in Nürnberg, Germany, on September 9, where double points will be awarded. "It's not over yet," Cooke said. "But I'm very happy with my result today. I'm in a good position before the final race."