Carmen Small has officially called time on her career after battling with the after-effects of a concussion following a crash in March. The American will take up the role of sports director with Team Virtu Cycling - formerly Veloconcept - a position that she has held on a part-time basis during her lengthy lay-off this season.
"I think it’s a lot of mixed feelings," Small said in a team press release.
"Every time I am at a race it is hard and especially being at Worlds and watching them race. I miss bike racing – it's my first love – and it’s hard not to do it, but I enjoy my new role and I’m getting a lot of joy and excitement working with the girls and give my passion to them. I am happy I am stopping while I’m still enjoying the sport."
Small joined the team at the start of the season with the intent of combining her racing with gaining experience as a sports director. However, she crashed hard during at the Ronde van Drenthe and has not been able to return to racing action since.
In an interview with Cyclingnews in June, she discussed her recovery and said that she had been suffering from daily headaches that often prevented her from training properly. While laid off, Small has been using her knowledge to help the young riders on the team and believes that transitioning from rider to DS in such a short period will be an asset.
"I think it is really beneficial because I’ve been racing - I came basically straight into being a DS,” said Small. “I know the girls, the races, the courses and I know how the girls race because I was just racing them. I think it is hugely beneficial when it comes to tactics, understanding what the girls are going through, and the pain that it takes to be the best, because I’ve done it myself.
"It’s not easy, I got my feet a little wet this year already, but I still have a lot to learn to be a good sports director. I’m looking forward to starting next season and working with a strong team I’ve put together, and it will be a huge benefit setting up the program and the expectations to begin with.”
Small turned professional in 2009 and has raced with Specialized-Lululemon, Twenty16, Cervelo-Bigla and Cylance, among others. She has two national time trial titles to her name, the second coming last season, and she won the Pan American time trial title in 2015. She twice won the team time trial world title with Specialized-Lululemon and took bronze in the individual time trial at the 2013 Worlds in Florence.