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.”
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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.
Nicole Cooke: rider profile