NICOLE Cooke has taken aim at drug cheats Lance Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton after announcing her retirement from cycling.
An interview will be broadcast this week in which Armstrong talks for the first time since being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for drugs offences. Hamilton, one of the chief whistle-blowers whose testimony underpinned the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s case against his former team-mate Armstrong, has admitted doping in his own career.
Cooke, 29, was the first cyclist, male or female, to win Olympic and world road race gold in the same year in 2008. In a lengthy statement announcing her exit from the sport, she wrote: “I have ridden through some of the darkest days of the sport in terms of corruption by the cheats and liars. I cannot change the era or time that I am born into. I am very proud that I have met the temptations head on and have not wavered in my honesty or sold my ideals.
“I have always ridden true to myself and placed my morals beyond a need to win. I have ridden clean throughout my career. When Lance cries on Oprah (Winfrey’s show) later this week and she passes him a tissue, spare a thought for all of those genuine people who walked away with no reward, just shattered dreams. Each one of them is worth a thousand Lances. Tyler Hamilton will make more money from his book describing how he cheated than Lyne Bessette (one of Cooke’s former team-mates) or I will make in all our years of our honest labour.”