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Sunday's race around the Gardens

25 Mar 06 04:13


Nicole Cooke of Wales is set to
defend her Road Race title

Nicole Cooke of Wales will line up in a field of 36 riders at the scenic Botanical Gardens before attempting to defend her Commonwealth Games Road Race title on Day 11.

Cooke won the race in Manchester, sprinting out of a seven person breakaway to beat Canadian Susan Palmer-Komar and Rachel Heal of England.

National Women's coach Warren McDonald said Australia was fielding its strongest team ever, including world No.1 Oenone Wood, current Olympic Champion Sara Carrigan and Commonwealth gold medallist Kate Bates.

Rounding out the team is Natalie Bates, Olivia Gollan and Rochelle Gilmore.

With three strong sprinters and three breakaway riders, the team will have many cards to play and are expected to ride an aggressive race.

Challenging them will be a unified New Zealand team led by Sarah Ulmer, who will line up after missing the time trial with a back injury.

Her recent success in round two of the UCI World Cup series makes her one to watch, along with in-form team-mates Melissa Holt and Joanne Kiesanowski.

Bronze medallist from Manchester, Rachel Heal will line up for England, while silver medallist Sue Palmer-Komar will be part of a strong Canadian team which includes sprinter Gina Grain, Erinne Willock and Amy Moore.

The course will be raced over nine laps of an 11km circuit in and around the Botanical Gardens.

It includes many corners and short, sharp climbs that will suit a strong rider with good technical skills.

- Games News Service

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