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 35 year old, 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.

Cooke, a winner of more than 50 professional races, having ridden on some of the world biggest teams including Francaise des Jeux and Saxo Bank, is proud to have finished off his career off at Australia’s first World Tour team.

“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. 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, surrounded by his OGE team mates Matt Goss, Simon Gerrans, Michael Matthews, Brett Lancaster and Peter Weening. Cooke’s past teammates and friends from the Australian cycling community will also attend including Brad McGee, Matt White, Henk Vogels and Matthew Wilson.

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. 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.”

test via media release