Sara Carrigan, 2004 Olympic Champion, announced her retirement from professional cycling. The Australian will focus on her University studies.
"I am excited about my new adventures but it is sad and emotional for me to let go and say good-bye to what has been half my life," Cardigan said. "I'd like to thank everyone for their support; they have helped make me who I am today."
The 28-year-old represented Australia at eight World Championships, two Commonwealth Games and two Olympic Games. In Athens she claimed gold in the road race and at the 2006 Commonwealth Games she placed third in the time trial. Most recently she rode for the Lotto Bellisol Ladies' Team.
Carrigan was twice the Australian Champion in the road time trial and, apart from 2007 when she took a break from racing, has been on the podium every year since 2001. She placed second in this year's time trial and third in the road race. She also amassed a host of victories in international races around the world.
Carrigan admitted turning the page is hard. "The thought of life as a 'non-full time' athlete is overwhelming but also exciting. It is hard to leave something that I love so much, that has allowed me to achieve one of my life dreams but I am an 'all-or-nothing' person."
Carrigan said that she strived to be the best and once the focus and commitment was gone to achieve it, there was only one consequence. "It is the right time for me to walk away. I am open to the possibility of competing in future competitions but my full time competitiveness is now over."
Her time after the Olympics in Beijing was rather quiet. "I've been able to relax and breathe again after the very intense period of pre-Games focus."
Carrigan will now focus on completing her Bachelor of Business degree (majoring in Property and Development) at Griffith University in Queensland.
"I have discovered an enthusiasm and a passion for the property industry so I will move forward with that," she said. "But I will also continue to speak at schools as part of the Gold Medal Messages Program and perhaps start a 'riding school' to teach both young and new riders the rules of the road and technical aspects of riding a bike."