Sad to hear today that Nicole Cooke is retiring from procycling at just 29. For an Olympic gold winning, former world champion she seems to have missed out on most of the limelight that has fallen on cycling this year.
She was responsible for one of the most exciting wins I have ever watched. In the 2008 world championships she was in a select group in the final laps. With two Germans in the group they should have been able to work the others over. But they couldn't make it stick. Cookie, all over her bike, looked like she was just fighting to stay in touch. Crucially the super dutch rider, Marianne Vos, burned to much energy chasing down the German attacks. By rights she should have been able to take Cookie in the sprint but not this time. Fresh from her Olympic gold Cooke as too strong.
Despite winning the gold in Beijing she had to play a supporting role this year. I always sensed she was something of an outsider, making her way in road racing when for British Cycling it was all about the track. Then when the BC machine turned its attention to the road, they chose the talent they had groomed from the off. Cooke was not about to be Yoda to Armitstead's Skywalker.
She seemed to fall out with teams a bit to easily, end up in squabbles with team mates. When interviewed she could not shine like Pendleton or provide the atriculate commentary of Pooley.
But lets be honest, Cav likes a good row, Wiggins is often lousy in front of the press and Hoy is not the most exciting presence off the bike. If Cooke was a bloke, with her palmaris she would be a household name.
Good luck Nicole and thanks for everything.