As Lizzie Armitstead, Elinor Barker and Lucy Garner pick up success and silverware, grande dame of British women’s racing Nicole Cooke may be joining Emma Pooley in stepping off the stage.

“She’s not certain anymore what she wants to do,” said Walter Ricci Petitoni, team manager of the Faren-Honda squad Cooke races for.  “She’s going to take a break and decide what to do.”

It has been an indifferent year for former world number one and 2008 world champion and Olympic gold medallist Cooke.

The Welshwoman won a stage of the Energiewacht Tour in Holland and played a support role to Lizzie Armitstead and Emma Pooley at the Olympic Games and World Championship road race this year respectively.

However, she registered few significant individual results, continuing her fall down the UCI rankings. “She hasn’t gone like [the real] Nicole Cooke, a bit like last season. Perhaps we expected more from her, but she gave and did everything she could,” he said. 

Ricci Petitoni mentioned “a bit of mental tiredness” too – unsurprising given Cooke has just completed her eleventh year on the women’s professional scene.

“I accompanied her to the airport this morning, I said ‘if you decide to continue, you have to have in your head that you have to return to be [the old] Nicole Cooke.’

Cooke was unavailable for comment as CW went to press.

This article originally appeared in the October 11 issue of
Cycling Weekly.

Related links
Nicole Cooke: rider profile

  • mike

    It is sad to see – I think the failure of her Vision One team to get proper support sapped both her energy and enthusiasm – and left her with doubts about her abilities. . She has never been the same rider since. I watched her win the commonwealths live, then go on to collect an olympic medal. Wonderful times. It is a pity that womens cycling was so underfunded she considered starting her own team.

    She really was a pleasure to watch -I for one will miss her.

  • David

    Lazy lazy journalism this was in the rag on the 11th and it takes you 19 days to get it in the online version, but I don’t expect you to put this comment up as you never publish or respond to any negative comments.

  • Angharad

    Oh Nicole, please think carefully. I’d love to see you win another British Championship road race, just to remind the youngsters what you can do.

    With Beryl Burton, Nicole Cooke has to be the best ever British woman rider ever, and I feel so privileged to have seen her ride and win, in the flesh.

    If you do retire, thanks for all you’ve done for women’s cycling and for its fans.