Cycling - O’Grady announces retirement after 'truly special' Tour

Australian Stuart O’Grady has retired from professional cycling a year earlier than planned.

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Stuart O’Grady (AFP)

O’Grady, Australia’s first Classics champion and a six-times Olympian, said he had always wanted to end on a high note – and that the team time trial victory of ORICA-GreenEDGE at the Tour de France allows him to do that.

“I’ve always wanted my career to end with something truly special and this year’s Tour de France has given me that,” he said.

“We’ve had a great race, and I’m really proud of what we accomplished. Winning a stage and standing on the podium with all my team-mates after the team time trial in Nice was a dream come true for me this late in my career, and to be able to defend the yellow jersey for Simon [Gerrans] and Daryl [Impey] was special.

“I’m extremely happy to have had a chance to do that one more time before I retired.

“Originally, I wanted to keep going, but I’ve kept thinking that this is the year. We reached big goals as a team at the Tour, and I’m proud to finish my career after an amazing experience with an incredible team.

“I’m turning 40 very soon, and I’ve realised there are things in my life that I want to prioritise. My family has helped me make this decision. It’s been 23 years of top-level performing and 19 years of professional racing, so it’s time to move on.”

O’Grady has appeared in every Tour since his debut in 1997.

He has three stage wins and nine days in yellow to his name.

“I have a lot of great memories to look back upon, and I’m happy to pull the pin at a point where I still feel strong, healthy and competitive,” said O’Grady.

“I’ve had some bad crashes along the way, but it’s the great moments – like this year’s Tour de France – that I’ll always remember.”

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