Australian Baden Cooke has announced his retirement after 14 years in the professional peloton having won over 50 races in his career during stints with FDJ, Saxo Bank and Orica-GreenEdge. Cooke spent the last two seasons with the Australian WorldTour team. Cooke's announcement follows speculation he would retire at the end of season with his contract expiring this year.
Cooke 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.
"After 14 years racing at the highest level, I am moving on. Having the honour of finishing my career with Australia’s first own World Tour 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," said Cooke.
"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."
Cooke was a bronze medallist at the 2002 Commonwealth Games road race and competed at the 2004 Olympics. Cooke also won four stages of the Tour Down Under and finished ninth in the 2002 world road championships.
The 2002 Jayco Herald Sun Tour winner stated 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. 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, said Cooke"
Cooke will ride a farewell criterium in his hometown of Melbourne in December at the Logie-Smith Lanyon SKCC Super Criterium surrounded by several of his Greenedge teammates.