A promising rider since her junior days (she won four junior world titles, including one in mountain bike), Nicole Cooke’s greatest season came in 2008, when she won both the Olympic road race and the road race at the World Championships. In 2003 and 2006, she was the top women single day racer, winning the UCI Women’s Road World Cup in those years. She placed third at the World Championships in those years, also earning a silver in 2005. Cooke also excels in stage racing, and won the Giro Donne D’Italia in 2004, when she became the first ever British winner, male or female, to win a grand tour, and the Grande Boucle in 2006 and 2007. She also claimed a gold medal for Wales at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and a bronze in 2006. In 1999, Cooke became the youngest ever British cycling champion, at age 16, and in 12 attempts, won 10 British titles in 1999, and 2001-09. Cooke finished 31st at the 2012 London Olympics, and the following January she announced her retirement from the sport.