Cooke takes le Tour stage win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cooke takes le Tour stage win

08/07/2003 05:50:53 AM Comments (0)

Australian sprinter Baden Cooke - of the fdjeux.com team - won the second stage of the Tour de France, a 204.5km ride from La Ferte Sous Jouarre to Sedan.

The 24-year-old crossed the line in 5hr 06min 33sec to claim his first ever Tour stage ahead of a bunch of top names.

"I can't believe it's happened," said Cooke, who has been tipped for a sprint stage win since making an explosive debut on the Tour last year.

"I had a bad start to the day then I changed my bike around and from there things started to get better.

"My team-mates did a great job today and especially Brad (overall leader Bradley McGee) in the final two kilometres."

Frenchman Jean-Patrick Nazon (Las Boulangere) came second ahead of veteran Estonian sprinter Jaan Kirsipuu, with former six-time green jersey winner Erik Zabel missing out on his 33rd birthday.

On what is turning out to be a great race for the Australian camp, McGee, who helped lead Cooke in for the final 2km, held on to the yellow jersey for the third day.

McGee's race lead had come under threat earlier in the day from another Australian, Robbie McEwen (Lotto) who is wearing the green jersey.

Cooke's win came only minutes after the peloton had chased and caught up with young French rider Frederic Finot, who had enjoyed the best part of a 200km breakaway only to see his dream of winning a stage for his Jean Delatour team fritter away as the bunch swallowed him up with 3km to race.

McGee now leads the race ahead of 26-year-old Scot David Millar, with Cooke sitting in third ahead of Basque rider Haimar Zubeldia.

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