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Thursday 26, Jan 2017

  Former Cyclist Raises Doping And Sexism Accusations

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Former Olympic and world champion cyclist Nicole Cooke has blasted the functioning and questioned the existence of British Cycling and Team Sky.

Cooke, who announced her retirement from cycling on 14 January 2013 at the age of 29, said cycling is “a sport run by men, for me” and added that the wrong people have been fighting the wrong war, in the wrong way, and with the wrong tools. The 2008 Gold Olympic medalist also remarked he had been encouraged as a 19-year-old to dope by two members of her own British team. Cooke remarked she was the Briton on her team in Italy and she was encouraged by two members of the management of her team to dope. The cyclist went on to say that she had passed the information onto the forerunner of UK Anti-Doping when she was encouraged to dope as a 19-year-old but nothing was done.

Commenting on the “mysterious” bag containing medication that was transported by Simon Cope, Cooke said Cope was doing what he was told to do but it is surprising to learn that Cope, British Cycling women’s team manager, had no other task left to perform besides delivering the bag. Cooke went on to ask why Cope, whose salary is paid out of the public purse, was asked by his managers to serve as a courier for Bradley Wiggins and spent some weeks riding a moped in front of him as part of a training regimen instead of performing his responsibilities for the women’s team.

Cooke disclosed she was given four Therapeutic Use Exemptions during her career, namely to treat a serious knee injury. Cooke said she had a TUE for this treatment receiving the same steroid that Bradley Wiggins used more recently and added it could at the time could only be used with a TUE, whether in or out of competition. Cooke said that injection failed to address the medical problems and she continued not to race and ended up having surgery in May 2004. Cooke said the TUEs issued by the Team Sky/British Cycling medical team for this same steroid are of great concern. The former cyclist raised eyebrows on the functioning of British Cycling and Team Sky by saying the more relevant question rather than the strange coincident chronology of the ailment perhaps is to ask the Team Sky/British Cycling  medical team how often has this steroid been issued to athletes out of competition. Cooke said it is important to know if the steroid is used properly to help recover from career threatening injuries or has it ever been used to assist athletes losing fat and gaining power in the out of competition preparation for major events.

Cooke also said very little was ever done to support female road riders during her career. Recounting her own exposures to sexism, the Commonwealth, Olympic, and World road race champion said odd riders at times would be supported for a period while they were ‘in favor’ but mostly that support was only ever transient. Cooke went on to said that plans were in place in 2008 for the male only Team Sky that would use a variety of British Cycling Lottery funded staff in dual roles. The project, overseen by Dave Brailsford and others, was designated as “male only” and no successful appeal that it should be a male and female team was possible. Cooke said it was “run exclusively by men, exclusively for men”.

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Friday 17, May 2013

  Olympic Gold Medalist Wants Madrid Olympic Bid To Be Thwarted

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Olympic Gold Medalist Wants Madrid Olympic Bid To Be Thwarted

Olympic cycling gold medalist Nicole Cooke wants International Olympic Committee members from Britain to vote against Madrid’s 2020 Games bid following Spain’s doping scandal.

This was after a Spanish court ordered 211 blood bags to be destroyed without analysis even though it convicted Dr Eufemiano Fuentes of giving blood transfusions to cyclists.

Cooke said it is time to stand up for every one of those unknown victims of those bags of blood, every one of those robbed by the cheats. The Welsh cyclist accused dopers of bringing out the “darkest days” of the sport. She called on the British Olympic Association’s IOC members to ensure a nation that allows its legal system to act in this manner can have no part in hosting any future Olympic Games. She went on to add that we now need our representatives to send the most clear message to the Spanish authorities and it is a great privilege to host an Olympic Games.

Cooke said Madrid seeks nomination for the 2020 Games and we have our IOC representatives, who have a vote to cast and they can, today, offer tangible sanction while we athletes can do little but comment and added that Sir Craig Reedie, Sir Philip Craven, Adam Pengilly, make your views public and crystal clear as this is not an area for inaction or even for ‘behind-closed-doors’ persuasions and urged them not to be quiet on this issue.

Cooke added nothing can make good that stolen by the criminals from their innocent victims. However, by standing idly by, the authorities, both in Spain and even here in the UK, make the pain so much more unbearable and said she knows that every child in my village wanted me to do my best. Undoubtedly every single one wanted me to win, but even more, every little boy and little girl would have preferred me to lose rather than win via some weird hormone replacement therapy and Frankenstein blood recipe, said the Olympic cycling gold medalist.

In another development, British distance runner Paula Radcliffe has criticized the decision of the Spanish court to destroy evidence seized in police raids on Eufemiano Fuentes and said it was “vital” the bags of blood were preserved, adding that Spain had been given a chance to show it backed the fight against drugs. The Spanish anti-doping agency is only just bringing into line its national legislation with the rest of the world to make it a criminal offence to take part in doping and to supply doping, and that was probably done to support the bid to host the Olympics in 2020, she said. The 39-year-old is a long-standing opponent of doping, having staged a placard protest against “EPO cheats” at the World Athletics Championship in 2001 and pointed out that the court’s decision comes at a time when progress is being made in the fight against the use of drugs in sport. She suggested the decision could damage Spanish capital Madrid’s bid for the 2020 Olympic and the head of the International Olympic Committee’s medical commission, Arne Ljungqvist, has also spoken out against the court’s order.

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