Nicole Cooke went out as she rode

Nicole Cooke
Nicole Cooke wins the 2008 UCI Road World Championships Cycling Road Race

..fighting all the way.

In her pre-prepared retirement speech the Welsh cyclist gave it both barrels and then reloaded to fire off a few more direct hits.

Tyler Hamilton will make more money from his book describing how he cheated than [Lyne] Bessette or I will make in all our years of our honest labour. The situation requires the very basics of morality. Please don’t reward people like Hamilton with money. That is the last thing he needs. Donate his literary prize and subsequent earnings from such publications to a charity. There are many places infinitely more deserving than the filthy hands of Hamilton. I am happy to offer some ideas! Nicole Cooke

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

You can read the full statement here.

One thing you can say though is she helped keep drug use in the sport secret through her actions mentioned in the statement. She didn’t come out and tell authorities what teams were asking her to do or what they provided her with to do it. Of course you don’t know the consequences of telling all.

She is still the only rider to win the World and Olympic road race titles in the same year, back in 2008. And in the way the likes of Chris Boardman and Jason Queally were the start of the revolution in British men’s cycling that’s led us to this last glorious year, Nicole alongside Vicki Pendleton led the way for the women’s sport in this country, so we now have the likes of Laura Trott, Dani King and Joanna Rowsell being the best about.

She leaves with head held high and a pretty damn impressive career behind her.

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