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Brändli retires from women's peloton

Prologue winner Nicole Brändli (Team Bigla)

Prologue winner Nicole Brändli (Team Bigla) (Image credit: CJ Farquharson)

Nicole Brändli has announced her retirement from pro cycling. The Swiss rider has won the women's Giro d'Italia three times and has won three silver medals at the World Championships.

“After serious consideration, I will not start in the coming season,” she wrote on her website. “After 10 years of professional sport, I need time to think about what I really want to do in the future.”

Brändli, 30, has ridden for Acce Due O, Red Bull- Frankfurt, Edil Savino, Prato Marathon Bike and S.C. Michela Fanini Record Rox. She has been with Bigla Cycling Team since 2005.

Brändli won the Giro d'Italia in 2001, 2003 and 2005. In 2002 she finished second in both the World Championships road race and time trial, and in 2001 she finished second in the Worlds time trial, only .41 seconds behind winner Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli.

She had earlier said that she would retire after the Mendrisio World Championships in 2009, then decided to make her final decision this spring. The Giro d'Italia was an attractive prospect this year 2010, with its difficult course passing through Switzerland.

But a number of factors convinced her to stop, Brändli told the Swiss website “But it would have been a big effort,” she said. “I didn't have enough goals. And I'm not getting younger. Plus I would have had to change teams again, since Bigla stopped.”

When asked to pick her biggest success, she chose not her three Giro victories, but last year's third place finish in the Italian race. “I had to pause after surgery and didn't know, how it would go. So I was very happy my third place, even though it wasn't a win. But personally I found it almost more important than the three Giro wins.”

Brändli admitted she has not been on her bike since November. “I have done other sports, to keep myself fit in case I did decide to come back – but only as I felt like it. I don't just sit on the sofa the whole day. But I enjoy the fact that I can do that at times.”

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