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Aussie Paralympian bags double cycle gold

AAP logoAAP 17/09/2016 Hughes Jones, Lucy

Australian Paralympic cyclist Carol Cooke has fought through her "toughest campaign ever" to collect a second gold medal in Rio.

The 55-year-old won the women's T1-2 road race on Friday (Saturday AEST), edging out reigning world champion Jill Walsh of the United States and Germany's Jana Majunke who came third.

The Melbourne-based rider had also defended her London 2012 crown in the 15km T1-2 road time trial two days ago.

"I was really emotional on time-trial day, I couldn't stop the tears from flowing. I think crossing the line today was sheer relief," she said.

Cooke, who normally drives the pace in the 30km race, played a waiting game and launched her attack five kilometres from the finish line.

"Jill (Walsh) was in front of me and I saw her change gear, and I thought, 'she's going to take off'. So I thought I'd better get the jump on her first," she said.

"My tactic was to take off and hammer it for 20 to 30 seconds and see if anyone kept up with me, and if they hadn't just keep a really good time trial pace up."

The Canadian-born former undercover police officer was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, four years after she moved to Australia.

By 2001, Cooke was using a wheelchair full time, and doctors said she'd never walk again.

But through regular exercise and Botox injections in her legs, the tricycle rider proved them wrong.

Cooke's MS symptoms are aggravated by heat and exertion, making Rio's sizzling conditions a challenge to compete in.

"The night after the time trial I slept about an hour and a half," she said.

"I felt like I had ants crawling all over my face with the pins and needles and my legs were twitching everywhere."

Despite the pain, Cooke says riding is the only thing keeping her out of a wheelchair, and she has plenty more to do.

"I still haven't won the World Cup series so that's a bucket-list thing," Cooke said.

" I'll keep going until I do that."

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