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Annika Langvad announces retirement

Boels Dolmans' Annika Langvad – right, after taking second place at the 2019 Strade Bianche – congratulates winner Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott)
Boels Dolmans' Annika Langvad – right, after taking second place at the 2019 Strade Bianche – congratulates winner Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Mountain biker and sometime road racer Annika Langvad has announced her retirement, and will not take part in this weekend's women's cross-country event at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships due to a stomach bug.

Langvad's mountain bike palmarès is extensive, and includes the cross-country title at the 2016 World Championships, five Cape Epic titles and victory at the 2015 Leadville 100, as well as finishing second overall in the World Cup in both 2016 and 2018.

The 36-year-old also rode the 2019 road season for Dutch squad Boels Dolmans, finishing second at Strade Bianche, fourth at Amstel Gold and third at Flèche Wallonne. She also became the Danish road race champion back in 2010 and won the national time trial title three times, as well as finishing sixth in the time trial at the 2013 World Championships.

Langvad thanked a number of people and sponsors, including Specialized, who backed her for much of her professional career, on- and off-road, and expressed an element of surprise at what she'd been able to achieve during her career.

"I grabbed a lot of those opportunities and managed to turn some of them into experiences and accomplishments that I didn't even dare dreaming of, while other opportunities made me face some of my inner demons," she wrote in a statement on Friday.

"These 10 years of racing will probably be some of the most intense time of my entire life, and now I'm ready to devote myself to other things in life," Langvad said.

"This weekend was supposed to be my last [mountain bike] World Champs. Sadly, I've been struggling with a stomach bug since Nove Mesto [MTB World Cup], which has left me drained and not able to be on the start line. I wish my teammates and all riders a fantastic race," she wrote.

Annika Langvad's retirement statement in full:

So, here's a big announcement: I'm retiring from professional racing. Now is the time. These 10 years of racing will probably be some of the most intense time of my entire life and now I'm ready to devote myself to other things in life.

I've been thinking a lot about what reflections to share with you, since it's been quite a rollercoaster of emotions leading up to this point. This is not a decision made overnight, it has been at the back of my mind for a long time – first time was in 2016, where I went to finish dentistry school after the season. But when you are on a high and you are wearing the rainbow jersey it's just so easy to continue one more year.

And thanks to Specialized there were always new adventures that made every next season too tempting to resist. The support and opportunities from Specialized is and always will be the absolute center of my career and something I forever will be grateful for. I grabbed a lot of those opportunities and managed to turn some of them into experiences and accomplishments that I didn't even dare dreaming of, while other opportunities made me face some of my inner demons.

Also, I will forever be grateful for having Thomas Bonne by my side through it all. You are my rock and none of this would have been possible without you.

In the end, I wouldn't want to be without any of those adventures at all (good or bad) or any of the special people I've met along the way. Not a single one. It all contributed to who and where I am today. 

But now it's time. I'm feeling satisfied and content and okay with things as they are. I've played my role. I'm ready to move on.

This weekend was supposed to be my last World Champs. Sadly, I've been struggling with a stomach bug since Nove Mesto, which has left me drained and not able to be on the start line. I wish my teammates and all riders a fantastic race.