Cooke back to winning in Olympic year

The defending Olympic champion Nicole Cooke has not been the same prolific winner she was in the years leading up to her Beijing gold medal performance and world title in 2008, but with a stage victory in the Energiewacht Tour this weekend, the British rider is confident that her preparations for the London Olympic Games are on track.

"To get a win is great as it shows I've still got it," Cooke said according to the BBC News. "I'm very pleased as it always great to have that reference point against the best riders in the world."

Cooke, riding for Faren-Honda, made the winning breakaway of eight riders on the final stage of the Energiewacht Tour in Schloteren, outside Groningen in the Netherlands.

After 103.2km, Cooke out-foxed her companions to win the sprint ahead of Belgian Evelyn Arys and German Sarah Düster (Stichting Rabo).

"I think it is a really good signal to myself and my rivals that when it comes to the sharp end of racing and tactics, I'm up there - and I'm as good as ever of executing a win.

"It is a fantastic feeling to get my 2012 season going properly. I should be increasing form and building for London."

The six-stage event was won by Ina Teutenberg, who won two stages and the overall classification thanks in part to the dominating performance of her Specialized-lululemon squad in the team time trial.

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