You need to read the full statement, but Cooke points out specifically the impact of doping on the sport she loved for 17 years. 17 years of staying clean in that sport is her legacy and its one that needs to be driven home along with the other message of this piece: women’s cycling is so badly funded and so poorly respected that young women riders are going to be increasingly under pressure to cheat.

Every scandal on the men’s side has caused sponsors to leave on the Women’s side. And with such thin budgets, the losses have a greater relative impact on what survives. In areas where there was unique female development and growth, such as in Canada, which hosted a major Tour, a World Cup and the World Championships, all geared to supporting their number one rider — Genevieve Jeanson, there has been calamity. Perhaps Jeanson will not be a name familiar to you. She was the Canadian superstar, a national icon. She never tested positive. She missed a drugs test when she beat me and received a meaningless fine as a consequence. She exceeded the 50% Hematocrit level and the authorities acted in line with their legislation and imposed a “health rest” on her.

Second fiddle to Jeanson during this time in Canada was a rider with morals called Lyne Bessette. Nobody can give back to Lyne Bessette or I the wins Jeanson stole from us. Throughout her career Jeanson repeatedly lied, just like Lance and yet now, she confesses that she had been on an extensive doping program since she was 16. The full story only came out, via quality investigative journalism.

Nicole Cooke’s retirement statement in full | Sport | guardian.co.uk via

Velominati › Portrait of a Hardwoman: Nicole Cooke

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