25 September 2020

Cycling: Nicole Cooke announces her retirement from cycling

January 15, 2013
Cycling: Nicole Cooke announces her retirement from cycling

The former world and Olympic champion has announced her retirement from road cycling and used the opportunity to attack drug cheats in her sport.


Cooke was the first cyclist to win both the Olympic and world title in the same year when she rode to victory in Beijing and Varese in 2008.

Speaking yesterday she said, “I am now 29 so that’s 17 years of my life I have enjoyed and now I am bringing to a close. I won every race and more than I dreamt I could win.

“You cannot believe how happy I am being able to stand here with my dreams fulfilled.”

The 10 time British champion went on to describe her anger at the drug cheats in the sport of cycling. Speaking of disgraced seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong she said,

“When Lance Armstrong ‘cries’ on Oprah later this week and she passes him the tissue, spare a thought for all those genuine people who walked away with no rewards – just shattered dreams,” she added. “Each one of them is worth a thousand Lances.”

Speaking about her own personal experience with drug cheats, Cooke referred to Geneviève Jeanson, a Candaian rider who was her rival from the age of 16. Jeanson, like Armstroing denied doping for many years, but finally came clean in 2007.

“While I earned $80,000 (£50,000) in my best years at the peak of my career, she was making $400,000 (£250,000). Now she has ‘confessed’ and this is newsworthy. They are going to make a film and Jeanson, who cheated, will make money from others for a second time, telling the tale of how she robbed and lied. I can’t help thinking that the cheats win on the way up and the way down.”

She also spoke candidly about the pressure she and many other clean riders felt to take drugs to improve their performances.

“I have had days where temptation to start on the slippery slope was in front of me. In my first women’s Tour de France, when I was 19, as the race went on my strength left me.

“I was invited into a team camper and asked what ‘medicines’ I would like to take to help me and was reminded that the team had certain expectations of me during the race and I was not living up to them with my performance over the last couple of stages.

I said I would do my best until I had to drop out of the race, but I was not taking anything.”

Louise Hudson, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine 

Photo credit: Welsh Cycling

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Select a sport

Find out how to get started, training plans and expert advice.