When Lance cries on Oprah spare a thought for those who walked away with shattered dreams: Golden girl Cooke slams drug cheats after retiring from cycling
Cooke had thought she could put an indifferent four years behind her and mount a defence of her title, but finished only 31st.
The time between Beijing and London
was marked by a spat with Armitstead at the 2011 World Championships,
when Cooke was accused of riding 'for herself', rather than the team.
The duo put that behind them before again being team-mates at last summer's Olympics.
Armitstead was among the first to pay
tribute to Cooke, writing on Twitter: 'Congratulations to Nicole Cooke
on a fantastic career!'
British Cycling president Brian Cookson said: 'There is no doubt that Nicole has been a pioneering force in women's cycling.
'British Cycling owes a huge debt of gratitude to her and wish her all the best.'
COOKE REPORT – A LIFE ON THE ROAD
1983 – Born April 13, Swansea, Wales.
2000 – Wins gold medals in World Championship junior road races in France and Spain.
2001 – Continues that success with further wins in junior race and time-trial in Portugal.Awarded the Bidlake Memorial Prize, given for outstanding performance or contribution to the betterment of cycling.
2002 – Wins gold medal in women’s road race at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
2003 – Wins the women’s road race World Cup, the youngest to do so and the first Briton. Named BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year.
2004 – Becomes the youngest winner of the Giro d’Italia Femminile.
August – Finishes fifth in road race in the Athens Olympics.
2006 – Wins the bronze medal in the road race at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
September – Wins road race World Cup for the second time.
2008 – August – Wins gold medal in road race at the Beijing Olympics, Britain’s first medal of the Games.
September – Becomes first cyclist to win World Championships and Olympics in same year with victory in Varese, Italy.
2009: June – Wins Giro del Trentino, before triumphing in British Championships road race for the ninth time.
2010: June – Beaten into third place as Emma Pooley wins British Championships.
September – Fourth in World Championships road race.
October – Fifth in Commonwealth Games road race.
2011: June – Fourth in British Championships as Lizzie Armitstead wins.
July – Wins Giro D’Italia stage five.
September – Has a well-publicised spat with Armitstead, who was
nominated leader at World Championships but accused Cooke of riding 'for
2012: June – Sixth at British Championships road race.
July – Finishes 31st in defence of her Olympic title as Armitstead (above) claims
Britain’s first medal of London 2012, a silver behind Marianne Vos of
September – Finishes 60th as Vos wins the world title in Limburg, Holland.
2013: January 14 – Announces retirement.