Cooke’s full retirement statement — NicoleCooke.com
In a lengthy retirement statement, Olympic and former world champion Nicole Cooke recounts her start in the sport, her acrimonious relationship with British Cycling and fending off doping from her first Tour de France.
“I have had days where temptation to start onto the slippery slope was brought in front of me. In my first Tour de France, when I was 19, as the race went on, my strength left me. I was invited into the 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,” she writes.
“Second fiddle to (Geneviève) Jeanson during this time in Canada was a rider with morals called Lyne Bessette. Nobody can give back to Lyne Bessette or I the wins Jeanson stole from us. Throughout her career Jeanson repeatedly lied, just like Lance (Armstrong) and yet now, she confesses that she had been on an extensive doping program since she was 16. The full story only came out, via quality investigative journalism.”