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Nicole Cooke speaking in Bath on eve of Tour of Britain stage next week

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]" target="_blank">books [at], 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.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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