Gera - Zuelenroda, 113.1km
Nicole Cooke (Univega) put a lid on her domination of the Thüringen Rundfarht in the final stage in the East of Germany on Sunday. The British road race champion won 4 stages of the event, including the sprint for Stage 5. A time trial win on Stage 4a and second in the prologue demonstrated her all-round ability. Cookes' team, Univega Pro Cycling also worked hard for her all week. Christiane Soeder, Priska Doppmann, Karin Thürig, Emma Rickards and crash victim, Jo Kiesanowski all supported the race leader's efforts throughout the event.
An early break
by Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany) was covered by Emma Rickards, but Rickards was
directed by the team to drop back and help team-mates Priska Doppmann and
Karin Thurig to control the time gap and then bring Kupfernagel back to the
bunch by the climb dubbed the ‘Hankaberg’. Kupfernagel continued on her own.
Sandra Missbach (AA Drink) and Anke Wichmann (Nürnberger) also individually put themselves ahead of the chasing bunch in the effort to catch those ahead of them.
By the time the race passed the third major climb, Kupfernagel was on her own, ahead of Misbach with the others back in the bunch. But the Univegas controlled the race and brought both back into the bunch.
A dangerous break eventually formed and Cooke made the decision to go with it herself. Kupfernagel spent more of the race on her own, chasing (but ahead of the bunch). With 20km to go, she was 30 seconds adrift. At the finish, she had caught them and was a contestant in the sprint for the line.
In commanding fashion, Cooke led the sprint. She crossed the line with time for a double-handed victory salute to the large crowd in Zeulunroda.
Nicole Cooke - "When the break went on the climb, it was just a case of going with the strong riders. I knew that I had the overall secured; we'd gone over the last climb. My team-mates worked so hard for the first sixty kilometres to stop Kupfernagel getting too much of a break. It was thanks to my team-mates that we had the chance for the overall win, so I really wanted to dedicate it to them because they worked so hard today and throughout the week too."
Did Not Finish
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