Former female world and Olympic cyclist Nicole Cooke retired from cycling because of the withdrawal of sponsorship due to the Lance Armstrong doping fiasco. I have been following the Lance Armstrong "confession" recently, and I admit I want to see what he has to say to Oprah of all people. It was obviously a calculated move. If what he wanted was a true confession, he could have done it any other way. When Lance Armstrong decide to go Oprah, hell, he meant it to be a show.
But this is not a post about Lance Armstrong. It is about Nicole Cooke, and everyone who was brought down by Lance Armstrong and his doping. I don't mean the people who also cheated and condoned - or even supported the doping. I need the people like Nicole Cooke who love cycling, who cycled clean, but had their careers ended because of the cheats in the sport. Nicole Cooke's retirement speech needs to be read in its entirety here. Do not support the people who cheated. Do not buy their books. Do not feed their fat pockets. Do not allow them to exploit their celebrity status for a tap on the wrist when what they have destroyed other innocent people's career. I do believe in forgiveness. But should someone who has destroyed the dreams of so many others be allowed to return to competition when he chose to cheat?
I have been robbed by drug cheats, but I am fortunate, I am here before you with more in my basket than the 12 year old dreamed of. But for many genuine people out there who do ride clean; people with morals, many of these people have had to leave the sport with nothing after a lifetime of hard work — some going through horrific financial turmoil. When Lance "cries" on Oprah 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.
- Nicole Cooke