Welsh cycling star Nicole Cooke (Raleigh-Lifeforce) finished fifth in the GP Montreal on Saturday, won by Fabiana Luperini (Menikini) of Italy in a two-up duel against young American rider Mara Abbot (Webcor). T-Mobile?s Judith Arndt was third.

The race took a definitive shape on the seventh of eleven laps in the Montreal circuit, when a three-up break containing Luperini, Abbot and Edwige Pitel (UNIQA) went clear. With two laps to go Pitel fell back on the daunting slopes of the Mount Royal climb, and then Luperini and Abbot fought it out for the win.

Behind, Cooke counterattacked in a group of 11. Former World Champion Judith Arndt (T-Mobile) broke away to take third, and then Cooke was pipped to the line by World Champion Marianne Vos (DSB) for fourth place.

Overall Cooke stays in the lead of the World Cup series, whilst the Canadian round confirms that Vos, who has scored points in all four last rounds, is definitely her most persistent and dangerous pursuer.

The Briton said she was ?happy with the result. There are three rounds left. I came here with a lead of 56 points and I could lose that lead in one race. Instead I?ve come away from here with that lead intact.?

?I have a strong team and I intend to do all I can to make sure I win the World Cup again.?

GP Montreal

1 Fabiana Luperini (Ita) Menikini 110.7km in 3-07-35
2 Mara Abbot (USA) Webcor at 2sec
3 Judith Arndt (Ger) T-Mobile at 57sec
4 Marianne Vos (Hol) DSB at 1-11
5 Nicole Cooke (GB) Raleigh Lifeforce
6 Oenene Wood (Aus) T-Mobile
7 Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (Fra) UNIQUA
8 Trixi Worrack (Ger) Nurnberger all st
9 Amber Neben (USA) Flexpoint at 1-17
10 Claudia Hausler (Ger) Nurnberger at 1-22
45 Rachel Heal (GBR) Webcor at 4-08
Dnf Tanja Slater (GBR) Raleigh Lifeforce