"I'm not retiring and I'm not pregnant"
At a press conference in New Zealand today, Sarah Ulmer, the current world record holder in the women's 3km individual pursuit, quashed ongoing speculation that she would retire after her hugely successful Athens campaign. Instead, the 29 year-old told said she would switch her focus to the road time trial, with the 2006 world championships in Austria and the Commonwealth Games as likely targets.
"I'm not retiring and I'm not pregnant. We can end those rumours right now," began Ulmer. "To be honest, when I finished the Olympics, that was going to be it and I told myself right up to the Olympic Games that was going to be my last race and that's how I approached it. But I'm not ready to retire, I'm not ready to give up sport yet."
However, Ulmer confirmed she is ready to retire from the track, and the same event she has dominated since taking the crown from previous world record holder Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel at the world championships in Melbourne last year. "I'm not ready to give up cycling but I'm equally not ready to go back to the same event that I've done for 12 years. I feel like I've done all I can do in that event. I don't think I can top what I did last year in the pursuit."
Speaking about diverting her attention to the road time trial, Ulmer admitted there was "no way" she would be ready to ride this year's world road championships in Madrid the way she'd like to, although she will attempt to qualify for a place on the team.
"There's no way I'm going to be in shape to contest a world championship like I'd want to contest it, but that's something we've got to decide. I've got to make the decision whether I want to line up knowing I'm going to get a relative pasting, deal with that and take it for the experience, or not line up for that very reason," she said.
"It's [the road time trial] a totally different event, it's basically a totally different sport. I've never trained for it before and I've basically never ridden one before except for in tours. I'm going to have to suffer obviously a lot of losses before I become even remotely competitive again."