Britain’s Beijing Olympic champion Cooke quits cycling

AFP, LONDON

Wed, Jan 16, 2013 - Page 19

Beijing Olympic Games road race gold medalist Nicole Cooke announced on Monday she was retiring from cycling with immediate effect.

The 29-year-old Welshwoman, who also won the world road race title in 2008 and so became the first rider to take both major events in the same year, said on www.cyclingweekly.co.uk: “I am very happy with my career. I have many, many happy memories over what has been my life’s work since I was 12. I have won every race and more that I dreamed I could win.”

The 10-time British champion also used her retirement statement to criticize the UCI, cycling’s world governing body, for failing to promote women’s racing and for allowing drug cheats to go unpunished in men’s events.

Cooke won Britain’s first gold of the 2008 Olympic Games in a rainswept race by the Great Wall of China.

Four years later, in London, she was also a member of the team that helped British rival Lizzie Armitstead win road race silver.

Cooke, by contrast, finished only in 31st place.

The time between the two Games saw a major falling out between the two British cyclists, notably at the 2011 World Championships, where Cook was accused of riding “for herself,” rather than the team.