Irish world medallist Caroline Ryan announces her retirement

Ryan won bronze in the World Track Championships in 2012

BY Newstalk 16:11 Thursday 15 December 2016, 16:11 15 Dec 2016

Image: Tim Goode PA Archive/PA Images

Ireland's first ever senior women’s World Championship cycling medallist, Caroline Ryan, has announced her retirement.

Ryan won bronze in the World Track Championships in Melbourne in 2012 and has been representing Ireland on the international stage for eight years.

The medal was the first World Championship medal in over 100 years, and she also picked up bronze in the Track Cycling World Cup in Aguascalientes, Mexico, in 2013.

"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 in a statement today released by Cycling Ireland.

"Cycling, and indeed rowing before it, became such a big part of my life and I consider myself lucky to have had a successful international sporting career in both. 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.

Caroline Ryan accepting her bronze medal  in the women's points race at the Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne, Australia in April 2012. Image: Andrew Brownbill AP/Press Association Images

"I have great memories from my time in cycling over the years, beginning with the Talent Transfer programme which brought me into the sport, to the many highlights of my career, which include winning Ireland's first ever female Elite World Championship medal in Melbourne and Ireland’s first ever Paracycling World Championship Medals with Catherine Walsh, as her pilot, and also winning the first ever World Cup medal by an Irish female track cyclist.

"It is not just the racing and results themselves but the people you get the opportunity to meet and work and compete alongside on the journey, which makes the experience of being an athlete so special.

"I want to thank everyone who has supported and helped me over the years especially my Coach Brian Nugent, Cycling Ireland, Sport Ireland and all of the support team along with the Irish Institute of Sport and SINI.

"I'd also like to thank the people who have supported me through sponsorship and followed my career over the years. I couldn't have achieved all that I have without your help. My Dad has always been a major inspiration and driving force behind my career as an elite athlete and I would like to say a special thanks to him for that."

She added: "I feel that my involvement with the sport of cycling has not ended and that in the future I will be able to contribute to its advancement and success in some way. For now I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and friends. The next chapter in my life is just beginning and I'm excited about what that has to bring."

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