Irish track cycling totem Ryan calls time on amazing career

Posted on: December 15th, 2016

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Caroline Ryan has been a mainstay of the Cycling Ireland High Performance programme since she joined it in 2008. Amongst her many highlights was the bronze medal she won at the 2012 UCI World Championships in Melbourne. She had plenty lowpoints too with crashes and bad luck but she said she leaves the sport with no regrets.

 

By Brian Canty

Ireland’s first ever female rider to win a medal at the World Track Championships has retired from the sport after eight years at the very top of the sport.

Caroline Ryan, a bronze medallist in the points race at the 2012 World Championships in Melbourne, said she leaves the sport with “no regrets” after publicly announcing her retirement this afternoon.

Ryan, a former international rower who came into the Cycling Ireland High Performance programme in 2008 said now was the right time to walk away and allow for others to come through and take her place.

“Stepping back from a sport I love that has given me so much was always going to be a tough decision to make,” she said.

“It will be hard to step away from competitive cycling and that buzz and adrenaline kick it gives you, and I will miss that, but I know that now is the right time and I leave with no regrets.

“I committed fully to sport and gave it everything while I was competing.

“I am very proud of what I achieved and I feel that I was part of a great team that has helped forge a path for Irish track cyclists who are now continuing to compete and medal on the world stage,” she added.

As well as that bronze from Melbourne four years ago, Ryan also won a silver medal as a pilot for Catherine Walsh at the 2009 Paracycling Track World Championships, becoming the first bike to win a medal for Ireland at that level.

She’s a three-time national time trial gold medal winner and has won bronze on one occasion while she’s also won a bronze at a UCI World Cup event in Mexico in 2013.

Throughout her career, Bryan Nugent was with her for most of the highs and lows and he said she paved the way for future generations to follow.

“Caroline cut out a path achieving results that no other had done before her.

“Winning Ireland’s first ever Elite Women’s World Championship Cycling medal in any discipline was the highlight of a hugely successful career of firsts for Irish cycling.

“Caroline has left a path behind her for the next generation of Irish Cyclists to follow and that’s a great legacy to leave behind.

“She has proven that it can be done and I know Caroline will be eager to see her success be carried on.”

2016 was an exceptionally difficult year for Ryan as she crashed hard at the UCI World Championships and broke her collar-bone.

At 37 it was a testament to her drive and determination that she could still compete at the level. After all, it was just two years ago when she was ranked the top-ranked 3k Individual Pursuit rider in the world.

That came courtesy of her remarkable bronze in the UCI World Cup in Mexico a few months earlier.

We will have a longer chat with Ryan in the coming days.

 

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