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Cooke the only woman on Tour

WELSH Olympic cyclist Nicole Cooke will be the only woman in a 100-strong field taking to the roads of Abergavenny, Usk and Monmouth in next week's Tour of Wales.

Chorley Citizen: Nicole Cooke Nicole Cooke

The Lifeforce Ras de Cymru is a gruelling five-day cycle stage race with six races in Monmouthshire starting on Wednesday, June 28.

And Cooke, ranked number one in the world for 2006, will be taking on 99 men when she lines up for the Univega Raleigh Lifeforce team.

Lifeforce CEO Del Delaronde was instrumental in persuading Cooke to ride for his team, persuading her a demanding stage race would help her prepare for a tough second half to her season which sees her defending her World Cup lead.

Delaronde said: "I actually asked her if she fancied going up against 99 men by riding for the four-person Lifeforce Team."

And Cooke replied: "That would be interesting, those are the types of odds that I thrive on, especially on South Wales roads that I know really well."

Simon Bray, head of events services at the university and a former British National Road Race champion, said: "We're very pleased that Nicole has agreed to take part in the race.

This is the second year the event has been promoted, and once again it's causing a great deal of excitement among the cycling and local sporting fraternity."

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