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Dim

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Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
« on: January 14, 2013, 15:43 »
Nicole Cooke quits the sport at 29. Releases a statement in which case she pretty much damns everyone, Floyd, Tyler who she says will make more from his book than she made in her career. Says she has been robbed of wins by drug cheats, slams the UCI, reveals she had to take four teams to court during her career to get paid.



http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/536378/nicole-cooke-retires-from-professional-cycling.html



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  • Jamsque

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    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #1 on: January 14, 2013, 17:27 »
    This ruined my morning. I am genuinely sad to see her retire, when I first got in to this sport she WAS women's pro road cycling in the UK. I am sure she had many many years of competitive riding left in her if she'd chosen to stay on, but obviously she doesn't feel like it is worth it.

    I know she has a reputation for being tough to work with, and this retirement notice obviously smacks of bitterness, but I don't think her complaints should be dismissed just because of her tone. She was ignored and sidelined by the UK cycling establishment for pretty much her entire career and never got the recognition she deserved. I hope that the next generation of female British cyclists are treated better.
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  • Dancing on the Pedals

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    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #2 on: January 14, 2013, 17:34 »
    Have never been her biggest fan - particularly in recent years when her spat with Lizzie has often come across as sour grapes and a rider clinging onto former glories, but it's so easy to forget just how good she was at her best.  With virtually no support - even less than the British girls get today, she was genuinely world class for most of the last decade, and yet received absolutely zero coverage, which is a real shame.  As a result, never got the recognition that she deserved.  I think I'm right in saying that she was the first woman to win the WC and the Olympics in the same year (of course Vos has now done this as well), but I remember at the time how great I thought that was.  The manner in which she won both golds was thrilling, spectacular, and incredibly gutsy - a fantastic advert for her sport.  I can remember watching the last lap of the ladies race in Varese on TV and it was some of the best racing I have ever seen - select group of Vos, Cooke, Johanssen, Arndt and on other (I think I have the names right...), attacking each other one after another non stop for the entire lap. It was brilliant!

    Yes it would be nice if she had been able to name names (I presume she has no proof and therefore would get sued etc if she did) but fair play to her for speaking out and criticizing the cheats, even the reformed 'good guys' like Tyler who shouldn't be exempt from criticism. 

    Chapeau on a wonderful career, I hope she has a very enjoyable retirement - in my view she has certainly deserved it, and finally, gets some of the recognition that she deserves.
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    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #3 on: January 14, 2013, 17:37 »
    Jam, re her not being a part of the establishment, and therfore not getting the support that she deserved, I think you're bang on.  She's clearly a pretty forthright individual, and I suspect - with no evidence to support this whatsoever - that BC didn't want to know.  Because she developed on the continent rather than through track/British Cycling Academy (did they even accept women back then?), they simply weren't interested - a crying shame. 
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  • Dim

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    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #4 on: January 14, 2013, 18:02 »
    Nicole was an excellent rider, and theres no doubt she blazed a trail for the British girls at a time when she was really the only top British rider.

    On a personal level, I wouldnt want to go to dinner with her, the one time I might her in 2010 ish, she came across as a bit of a prima donna, and not really a terribly pleasant person, I felt sorry for the poor marshall that day, and it didnt help that Lizzie Armitstead was about ten metres away from her being totally the opposite. Its no surprise that shes changed teams so often, although a lot of it was down to bad luck.

    what dissapointments me, in leaving shes as bitter as she was as a rider, nothing is ever her fault, and she gets sole credit for everything she did. No thanks for her sponsors who allowed her to race, no thanks to former teammates, no thanks to teams, fans or anything. Just a whole load of bitching.

    Sad way to go out.
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  • Dim

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    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #5 on: January 14, 2013, 19:52 »
    Nicoles full statement

    http://www.nicolecooke.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=130:nicoles-retirement-statement&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=18

    Pretty damning on drugs in the womens sport at some of her teams. Of course, damning also is the equal omerta in the womens sport, never said anything at the time. Bitterness only comes out on retirement.
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    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #6 on: January 14, 2013, 21:39 »
    Nicole was an excellent rider, and theres no doubt she blazed a trail for the British girls at a time when she was really the only top British rider.

     Its no surprise that shes changed teams so often, although a lot of it was down to bad luck.

    what dissapointments me, in leaving shes as bitter as she was as a rider, nothing is ever her fault, and she gets sole credit for everything she did. No thanks for her sponsors who allowed her to race, no thanks to former teammates, no thanks to teams, fans or anything. Just a whole load of bitching.

    Sad way to go out.

    Dim - thanks for posting up the link to the whole statement.  I certainly reads a lot better than the extract they have put up on the Cycling Weekly web site.  That is quite poor. 

     I suggest you read the whole thing and  then match your obvious personal prejudices to what she says. 

    I think she is quite gracious. Quite a few she thanked there.  Even thanked the late Geoff Greenfield.  I have my own fond memories of him with the British Cyclo Cross team.   I thought the section where she says she did not get paid by her first team because she did not bow to pressure was immense.  How about this:

    "This year, as I prepared for the defence of my Olympic title, I received no wages after March. The manager of the team boasted to the girls that he was not going to pay us and that he would employ the very best Italian lawyers to prevent us being paid! He stated that next year – he would have his team riders chase us down in every race. Yes, there is a taboo about revealing what really goes on. Riders move teams. Teams find new riders trying to make a start in cycling with no idea of what is out there or what tricks the managers can get up to. Tales go round that certain riders are "difficult". I certainly was. The stories are invented. Riders are labeled as uncooperative, selfish, not team players – it must be the case, rider A has been in the sport 4 years and has moved teams each year. Novices and those new to the sport are encouraged to ride against certain riders."

    Changes team a lot - due to luck !  How much about luck is not getting your salary ! 

    Sort of goes along with the stories I heard about British Cycling encouraging riders to gang up on her.  Not too sure quite how she and Shane Sutton got on either. 

    Dim I have only ever met Cooke once.  It was an event on a rainy day at the Brighton track in winter.  She could not have had more time for the kids and everyone with them.   

    Not too sure you are writing a wish. 
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  • Dim

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    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #7 on: January 14, 2013, 21:50 »
    the full statement certainly reads a lot better.
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  • froome19

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    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #8 on: January 14, 2013, 22:11 »
    I certainly enjoyed the full statement. Made me see her in a light I had not perceived before.
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    froome19

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    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #9 on: January 14, 2013, 23:16 »
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/21020428

    Brief clip of Cooke on Armstrong, geo-restriced unfortunately.
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    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #11 on: January 15, 2013, 09:38 »
    having read her full statement (linked by Dim above)  ...  I am a big fan.

    Seriously, I love what she said

    Quote
    I am appalled that so many men bleat on about the fact that the pressures were too great. Too great for what? This is not doing 71 mph on the motorway when the legal limit is 70. This is stealing somebody else’s livelihood. It is theft just as much as putting your hand in a purse or wallet and taking money is theft. Theft has gone on since the dawn of time but because somebody, somewhere else, does it, does not mean it is right for you to do it. There can be no excuse.
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  • ram

    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #12 on: January 15, 2013, 10:21 »
    509 Bandwidth Limit Exceeded

    What did it say? Mind, we know the men dope and are twits... did she reserve some for others?
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    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #13 on: January 15, 2013, 10:39 »
    it's also in The Guardian

    Spoiler (hover to show)
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    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #14 on: January 15, 2013, 17:57 »
    At the risk of descending into hyperbole, that full statement is a masterpiece.  Echoing what others have said, makes me see her in a whole new light, and with a new found respect for her.  At what point do the UCI eventually pull their finger out and sort out the mess that is women's cycling?  On the basis of her statement, the sport is approaching a real crisis point.
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  • ram

    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #15 on: January 15, 2013, 18:28 »
    The Women's tour of NZ was cancelled because the organisers couldn't afford the doping costs.

    Point about Tyler Hamilton, print and lamination worthy. Cheat making money about how he cheated. Woazers! What a read!

    Maybe needed more about women's doping, there's well scope for that without naming and it's only touched upon.

    Yes, min wage is pretty necessary... more than the equal prize money. Make measures to professionalise the sport, and maybe have a coaching plan for active riders. BC can afford it.
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  • froome19

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    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #16 on: January 15, 2013, 19:36 »
    Men racing makes more money so race organisers will focus on it more. That does not explain the UCI's reluctance to actually do anything about the situation. They have an obligation to focus on women's racing as much as men.
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  • Dancing on the Pedals

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    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #17 on: January 15, 2013, 20:40 »
    You'd guess right  :angry  :'(
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #18 on: January 15, 2013, 20:54 »
    At the risk of descending into hyperbole, that full statement is a masterpiece.

    Couldn't put it better.
    I'm not much into women's cycling, so I didn't know much about Cooke and her career other than that she was World and Olympic champion.
    It has been an both insightful and entertaining read. But it's also sad to read about the current state of women's cycling - I wasn't aware it was that bad. And I'm afraid with the current lot in charge of things, it won't get better soon.
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    ram

    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #19 on: January 16, 2013, 02:19 »
    True, but the same costs were imposed on the men's race - and that wasn't cancelled.

    The women's race has for a long time attracted the top level of the sport (eg., as a NZ newspaper article says: "Fifteen riders at this year's women's tour went on to compete at the London Olympics, including Kristin Armstrong who retained the individual road time trial gold medal and Judith Arndt claimed silver."), whereas the men's race is only a continental level race, full of aspiring "neo-seniors" and third division pro teams.

    (Despite this, there's more money for Jorge in the men's race - which feeds into another of Cooke's points ...)

    Doesn't it seem a bit fliped up to kill the race with the higher quality field and keep the lesser race??
    Sponsors and money. I'd certainly not invest in something with no returns. Is it fair? No, it's definitely not. Nor would it be fair for the youngers if the men's race were cancelled just cos they're not 'big names'. The sponsors and organisers were in a no win situation.

    Only stresses the need for professionalisation of the women's sport.
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  • Dancing on the Pedals

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    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #21 on: January 16, 2013, 08:03 »
    wow

    I actually like Lizzie Armitstead, but there isnt anything to like about that statement.

    not good
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  • ram

    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #22 on: January 16, 2013, 10:01 »
    "I've seen this kind of strange sexism being brought into the doping thing about how the women's side of sport is clean and the men's isn't," she said.
    "Well that's not true because I train with my boyfriend every single day. I know that he's 100% clean and he wins men's bike races."

    That's true though. But in the mirror sense, cheats cheat irrespective of whether they have certain body parts.

    Agreed, professional sport is a business, not a charity ...

    But if I was to tell you that the women's race had higher profile NZ companies sponsoring it and the crowds were usually bigger than the men's race - and that the only area where the men's race exceeded the women's was in getting 30 minutes (total time) coverage on NZ cable TV, would that change the picture??

    The World Cup race going was even stranger ... Huge crowds for the second year - and guaranteed to be bigger the next after Sarah Ulmer cleaned up that race ... UCI fliped that one - and the race in Oz that took place a week before. The proximity of the two at the start of the season guaranteed good fields for both races ...
    The organisers claimed they took a call based on sponsorship. I'd guess the men had some interest on the monetary front. Could be other reasons too, the Oceania tour isn't far off any in the dying stakes. There's two races in the whole calendar, and one is the continental championships.

    Was it a UCI clusterflip? Most certainly. Not the first, mind. They'd be better off enforcing things that can be.
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  • ram

    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #23 on: January 16, 2013, 15:40 »
    Nowhere does anything that Jorge has put out say that. The costs increased, so his company - which runs (ran) both events - put all of the money behind the men's race.
    You made me search for a while. That was from memory...
    This was what Jorge Sandoval said to SBS
    “The men’s race has its funding set, from last year and for a few years to come,” Sandoval told Cycling Central.

    “They also have a naming rights sponsor on top of it. Its got the financial support from Sport Manawatu, Palmerston North City Council and the naming rights from the New Zealand Community Trust.

    “We have been trying to raise the money for the women’s event, but we couldn’t. We don’t even have a naming sponsor for the event.”

    “It’s not about the men being more important than the women. To me, the women’s event is bigger than the men’s race because of the field we have got here.”

    Quote
    Herein I think is the real reason ... which comes back to Cooke's point about the UCI attitude towards women's racing ...
    Well, if indeed it was that reason, it was either one of the women's tour getting cancelled or Oceania tour becoming officially dead (there's one race in the Oceania tour now and the Continentals). Twas a no win situation. Now, Oceania of all the parts of men's cycling can have claims of flippancy towards it. I really think Kiwis have it hard.

    What can the UCI about lack of sponsorship in women's cycling? I'm really not sure. The knock on of the doping scandals, be they Longo or Armstrong..... yeah, that has to be cleaned. They should definitely protect their women more, at the very least the cream. Mind, do the UCI have a min wage for a Continental male rider? I know it's 23k Euro per annum for Prof Continental. Not sure about the Continentals. But I'm definitely lost as to what can be done about lack of sponsors.
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  • ram

    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #24 on: January 16, 2013, 16:42 »
    It would be a very tall claim if unsubstantiated, especially cos it'd be rather easy to call BS if false. Maybe it was a development in the last year.
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    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #25 on: January 16, 2013, 18:38 »
    Armitstead responds: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/21036935

    Blimey - I thought I was a little pro Cooke and anti- Armitstead, because I  always thought Lizzies statements about the 2009 World Champs never rang true.  But that certainly leaves no room even for my doubts about my own judgement.
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  • Dim

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    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #26 on: January 17, 2013, 02:37 »
    Lizzie on twitter

    Probably shouldn't give the bullies the time of day but my opinion in my own words: what LA has done to the sport of cycling is unforgivable. I am happy the truth has come out for the good of cycling. I am not naive, cycling is not 100% clean but which sport is? I am a part of a New generation of cyclists who compete honestly and quite rightly feel upset and diasapointed that it is suddenly an expectation of me to Be a politician. Cycling is a beautiful sport which I love, I have no issue with Nicole Cookes  statement and believe in everyone's right to an opinion

    Don't believe in the hype the media are trying to create around this. Please leave me out of the circus now, you may think that is wrong But I have a job which takes up enough of my energy without being abused on twitter.
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  • just some guy

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    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #27 on: January 17, 2013, 13:18 »
    you used to live in Palmy North and admit that  :D

    Although I should be quite I used to live in Upper Hutt :fp
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  • Capt_Cavman

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    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #28 on: January 17, 2013, 13:56 »
    I note that Nicole didn't thank Fabio Bartolucci, despite gushing praise in earlier interviews for the positive effect the good doctor had when working as her coach.

    Maybe Lizzie's annoyed that Nicole is taking the moral highground. Who knows? Certainly not me.
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  • ram

    Re: Nicole Cooke retires with a bang
    « Reply #29 on: January 17, 2013, 14:09 »
    Cheers for bringing that up. Was it around 07-08, during her knee injury time?

    Refrained from Armitstead for that (I personally don't know enough about British women's cycling to say either way). The same practitioner has been used to question sky, after all.
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