By the time Nicole Cooke reached the Great Wall of China on her way to winning a gold medal in the women's cycling road race yesterday, it was raining cats and dogs. A thick mist mantled the sharply pointed hills above the Ju Yong pass and the temperature had dropped far enough to mock her decision to wear a thin Lycra skinsuit rather than the normal jersey and shorts. It was, in fact, just like home.
Cooke, 25, is from the Vale of Glamorgan, where wet weather is hardly uncommon. But the conditions had little to do with the Welshwoman's achievement in becoming the first British cyclist, man or woman, to win the Olympic road race. Two years ago, in baking heat, she was the first British rider to win the women's Tour de France.
Nicole Cooke is a gold-plated Welsh Born Icon