In a shock move, talented Australian Dale Parker announced his retirement yesterday afternoon at the age of 19 via his facebook page. He later told Cyclingnews that he did not wish to comment further.
This season, Parker rode with the Trek-Livestrong Under 23 team, claiming the outfit's first win of the season, with his shock six second victory over a field of veterans in the 26.6 kilometre time trial at the Tour of the Gila, before going on to finish second overall in April. He was later promoted to RadioShack as a stagiaire at the Tour of Utah.
With Trek-Livestrong's season cut short due to a controversial decision by the UCI which prevented the team from racing at the Cascade Classic, Tour of Utah and USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Parker returned to Australia to race with the Jayco-2XU team which produced a stunning victory at the opening stage of the Tour of Tasmania – a gruelling team time trial up Mount Wellington. Parker finished fourth on the general classification, won by Garmin-Cervelo recruit, Nathan Haas.
In August, Parker told Cyclingnews that upon his return to his home in South Australia that his road focus would switch back to the track in a bid for selection for the London Olympic Games next year. Parker was a member of the men's pursuit team that won gold at the Delhi Commonwealth Games last year, along with Jack Bobridge, Michael Hepburn, and Cameron Meyer and was looking to take back his spot after Luke Durbridge slotted into the team which won gold at the World Championships earlier this year.
"It's going to be tough just to make the team; I think that's going to be the hardest part apart from trying to beat the Brits," Parker said.
In February 2010, Parker set a new world mark in the U19 men's individual pursuit, with a time of 3:13.958 bettering the time previously set by fellow Australian Michael Hepburn by more than 1.5 seconds. Parker's time remains the one to beat.
A drink driving incident late in 2010 forced the teenager to mature and Parker indicated that he was content after finding his feet living in Boulder, Colorado.
"Over the last year I've grown up a lot being with Trek-Livestrong – it's a really professional set-up and there's not a great lot of difference to the ProTour when you think about it," he explained.