Road To The Olympic Games

Olympics Summer

Brit Cooke cycles to gold in downpour

Nicole Cooke of Britain finally lived up to the lofty expectations she set as a junior by taking the gold medal in the women's road race Sunday in Beijing.

Nicole Cooke of Britain finally lived up to the lofty expectations she set as a junior by taking the gold medal in the women's road race Sunday in Beijing.

Cooke endured a torrential downpour through the streets of Beijing to cross the finish line in a time of three hours 32 minutes and 24 seconds.

The Brit held off Sweden's Emma Johansson, who took the silver, and bronze medallist Italy's Tatiana Guderzo.

The medal was Britain's first of the Games.

Cooke appeared to lose ground when her chain  momentarily slipped on the final lap, but recovered in time to make a surge up the last hill and edge both of her competitors at the end of the 126.4-kilometre race.

The victory erases her disappointing result at the Athens Games four years ago when she finished fifth.

Canada's Leigh Hobson concluded her cycling career with a 17th-place showing. Hobson, from Kitchener, Ont., was in the lead pack when she crossed the line in 3:32.52.

Beijing was to be Hobson's last race before she returned to teaching.

Victoria's Erinne Willock was 37th, and Alexandra Wrubleski of Regina, who fell with more than 10 km remaining, finished 50th.