Iris Slappendel calls time on career

Dutchwoman hangs up the wheels after 15 years in pro peloton

Iris Slappendel has announced her retirement from cycling at the age of 31-year-old with the UnitedHealthcare rider to go out a winner having won the final race of her career earlier this month at the Gateway Cup.

"So far, for me as a professional cyclist. September 5 I've rode my last race, which I won. So this seemed like a good moment to retire!," the Dutchwoman announced on her website.

"I've waited a little while to make it official. I needed some time for myself to get used to the idea. Also I wanted to inform my team, coach, family and friends first."

Slappendel turned professional in 2004 with Ondernemers van Nature - Vrienden van het plattela, spending three season with the squad before moving onto Team Flexpoint. In 2009, Slappendel moved onto Cervelo Test Team on a two-year deal that was followed by three seasons with the Rabobank outfit. She then moved to Bigla for the 2015 season and spent her final season as a professional in 2016 with the UnitedHealthcare squad racing predominately in North America.

Turning her career, Slappendel won the 2014 Dutch road title in along with five UCI races, including the 2012 edition of Open de Suede Vargarda, stages of International Thüringen Rundfahrt, GP Comune di Cornaredo, Rabo Ster Zeeuwsche Eilanden and most recently stage 7 of La Route de France.

"I'm 31 now, physical it wouldn't be a problem to continue for a few more years, but I want to be 100 procent [sic] dedicated, and especially in races I was struggling with this lately. In 2001 I started riding, since 2004 for a UCI team and since 2010 as a full-time professional," she added of her decision to retire.

"After 15 years I prefer to finish my career with a good level, instead to drag on for a few more years and not being able to reach this level again. I've truly enjoyed my last year of racing in the United States with my team United Healthcare and I'm happy to finish on a good note."

During her career, Slappendel also won the UCI prize to design the 2014 UCI Women's World Cup jersey having graduated in 2007 with Industrial Product Design degree and currently works as a freelance graphic and product designer.

"I'm looking back to the past 15 years with joy and satisfaction and I want to thank everyone who helped, support and followed me these years," she said.

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