Baden Cooke has announced that he will retire at the end of 2013, ending a 14-year career as one of Australia’s most decorated cyclists. The six time Tour de France rider and 2003 Green Jersey winner is in the process of setting up a sports management company from his base in Monaco and is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead given the abundance of Australian talent in the professional peloton.
A winner of more than 50 professional races, Cooke has ridden on some of the world’s biggest teams including ORICA-GreenEDGE, Saxo Bank and Francaise des Jeux. He is proud to finish off his career at Australia’s first WorldTour team.
“After 14 years racing at the highest level, I am moving on,” said Cooke. “Having the honour of finishing my career with Australia's first own WorldTour team has been a dream, Racing surrounded by my best mates has been a phenomenal experience. I am very proud of my career and am ready for my next adventure. I feel blessed having had the life and career that I always dreamed of having since I was a little boy starting out at Benalla Cycling club with a BMX and a stack hat.”
The Commonwealth bronze medallist and 2004 Olympian will ride a farewell criterium in his hometown of Melbourne as part of the Logie-Smith Lanyon SKCC Super Criterium on Sunday December 15. He will be surrounded by his ORICA-GreenEDGE teammates Matt Goss, Simon Gerrans, Michael Matthews, Brett Lancaster and Peter Weening. The 35 year old’s friends and former teammates from the Australian cycling community, including Brad McGee, Matt White, Henk Vogels and Matthew Wilson, will also attend Cooke’s final race.
Looking back on his illustrious career, the Jayco Herald Sun Tour winner sights his green jersey and stage win at the 2003 Tour de France as two of his career highlights along with his wins at GP Fourmies and Dwars Door Vlaanderen.
"All I ever wanted in life was to race bikes professionally,” said Cooke. “I never thought I would have so much success and win the races that I did. I am retiring from racing at a professional level but I will continue to train and don't be surprised to see me pop up at a local race."