Olympic and world champion who retired last year has just launched autobiography

Before Mark Cavendish burst onto the scene towards the end of the last decade, and long before anyone dreamt of a rider from the UK winning the Tour de France, the country could already boast one of the world’s top riders – Nicole Cooke, world and Olympic road champion, who will be speaking n Bath next his week about her autobiography, The Breakaway.

Published by Simon & Schuster, it’s a book in which Cooke, who announced her retirement in January last year at the age of just 29 following a career in which she won the national road championship in 10 years out of 11 as well as some of the sport’s biggest races, including Great Britain’s first gold medal at Beijing in 2008 and, the following month, the rainbow jersey, holds little back.

Had she been born male, her success in cycling would have made her wealthy; as a woman, she scraped by while watching the likes of Lance Armstrong become multi-millionaires built on the lie of doping.

Indeed, in her retirement statement, issued days before the American confessed to doping to Oprah Winfrey, she said, “spare a thought for all those genuine people who walked away with no rewards - just shattered dreams. Each one of them is worth a thousand Lances.”

On Thursday 11 September – the day before Stage 6 of the Tour of Britain starts in Bath – bookshop Mr B’s, in association with The Society Café will be hosting a talk by Cooke from 6.30pm at The Elwin Room at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute on Queen Square.

Tickets for the talk, which includes a question and answer session afterwards, cost £5 and are redeemable against a copy of Cooke’s book, and can be obtained by emailing //books [at] mrbsemporium.com" target="_blank">books [at] mrbsemporium.com, ringing 01225 331155, or simply calling in at Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, which is located at 14/15 John Street, Bath, BA1 2JL.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.