Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans) announced on Tuesday that she is retiring from professional cycling after the UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria. The two-time US National Champion and winner of the Giro Rosa and the inaugural UCI Women's WorldTour made the news known on her personal web page.
"After eleven exhilarating and exhausting years, it is time for me to move on from professional cycling," Guarnier wrote.
"I have far-over-achieved anything I ever thought to be possible within cycling when I embarked on this journey. Every National Championship win, my first UCI single-day win in Strade Bianche (to this day one of my favorite races), winning the Giro Rosa, winning the Overall World Tour and becoming an Olympian. These huge accomplishments are far beyond what the girl who cried after her first Pro1/2/3 race because she 'would never win again' would ever believe."
Guarnier said she planned to focus on returning to school and starting a family after 11 years in the sport.
"When I first left the 'straight and narrow' on this crazy cycling journey, I made one promise to my Mom: I would leave the sport when it stopped being fun," she wrote. "I still love the sport, but the sacrifice in being away from my loyal husband and amazing family, along with the physical toll of 11 hard years as a clean athlete are catching up with me.
"I haven't reached all my goals and I haven't done everything I hoped to do, however with excitement and some anxiety it is time to move on to my next life chapter. Thank you to everyone who made these past ten years spectacular, you'll always have a place in my life and I hope I can repay all of your efforts. We will always have Team Awesome."
Guarnier has raced the past five seasons with the Boels Dolmans team, and rose from domestique to champion under the direction of team manager Danny Stam. She credited him for much of her success.
"He is a mastermind of the sport, and taught me a lot about race savviness. I joined Boels Dolmans in 2014, when I was sure I was destined to have a career as domestique. Danny watched me work for Marianne Vos in the 2013 Giro, and thought I could win a Giro in the future.
"Despite thinking he was crazy, I was excited to get on board with someone who believed in me. During our first meeting, he told me he wanted to create the number one ranked team in the World (another huge, far-reaching goal). He made it all happen. A year later we won the World Cup Overall title and two years later we were the number one ranked team. He was right about me, too – I would go on to win the Giro and the World Tour Overall in 2016. Danny not only had a vision, but he worked with us to make it a reality."
She also thanked her coach and family, in particular husband Billy Crane, who "has he been there through the thick and the thin".
"I can easily say, I would not have been able to hack it on my own without his support (often from nine time zones away). Billy is the one that convinced (and enabled) me to leave my part-time job at the end of 2011, giving me the opportunity to soar in 2012 (when I won my first National Championship and the USA Women's Prestige Overall).
"He paused his career to move to Europe with me for my first full-time season there (and staying for two after that). I need to also thank those that supported him in making that reality."
After Guarnier's banner year in the UCI Women's WorldTour in 2016, her 2017 season took a hit with illness and injury. Her grandmother passed away, she suffered a concussion, but fought her way back to take fourth place in the Giro Rosa and second in the Tour of Norway, earning another selection to the World Championships.
But a crash on the descent in Bergen left Guarnier with a fractured jaw, an injury she struggled with for months. She has had a solid 2018 season, winning the Tour de Yorkshire and taking fifth overall in the Giro Rosa.