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Nicole Cooke retires from cycling and attacks drug cheats

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

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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

Team-mate: Elizabeth Armitstead and Nicole Cooke

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
herself'.

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
Holland.

September – Finishes 60th as Vos wins the world title in Limburg, Holland.

2013: January 14 – Announces retirement.