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Cooke forced to take initiative after crash at road Worlds

Nicole Cooke (SC MCipollini Giordana) fights her bike on the steep section of "Hankaberg"

Nicole Cooke (SC MCipollini Giordana) fights her bike on the steep section of "Hankaberg" (Image credit: CJ Farquharson)

Team Great Britain's carefully planned lead-out train for an in-form Lizzie Armitstead unravelled just 1,500m from the finish in the elite women's road race at the UCI Road World Championships, following a crash which unhitched the young sprinter from wheels of her teammates.

Speaking after the women's elite road race, fourth-placed Nicole Cooke, who initially was on lead out duties, said that when she realised Armistead wasn't going to make back after the crash 1.5km from the line, she readied herself to go for the win.

"Over the top of the hill, I didn't do any attacking because we wanted it to come to a bunch sprint," she said at the finish in Rudersdal, north of Copenhagen.

"Lizzie was going to call the shots. The team got her up to the front in position, I arrived a bit later and was ready for her, but she never came because she got caught behind that crash, so I had to ride for myself.

"I heard the crash and you keep looking - you know she's got the team supporting her to get her to me, so it should be doable. She wasn't there, so I then had to do the sprint for myself."

Armitstead finished in seventh place with the same time as the jubilant winner, Italian Giorgia Bronzini who successfully defended the world title she won in 2010.

The 28-year-old Cooke, who won the world road race title in Varese in 2008, said she was positioned well for the final sprint and was feeling good until Vos and the subsequently herself, were boxed in by an accelerating Bronzini and Germany's Ina-Yoko Teutenberg.

"Vos was able to reaccelerate - I did too - but neither of us got what we wanted," said Cooke at the finish. Last year Cooke, who rides for the Italian trade team S.C. MCipollini-Giambenini, also finished just outside the medals in fourth place at the Geelong worlds road race.

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Sam started as a trainee reporter on daily newspapers in the UK before moving to South Africa where he contributed to national cycling magazine Ride for three years. After moving back to the UK he joined Procycling as a staff writer in November 2010.