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Gracie Elvin announces retirement at end of season

Gracie Elvin (Mitchelton-Scott) descends through a corner at the 2019 Strade Bianche
Gracie Elvin (Mitchelton-Scott) descends through a corner at the 2019 Strade Bianche (Image credit: Getty Images)

Mitchelton-Scott's Gracie Elvin will retire from professional cycling at the end of the year, having spent eight seasons racing for the Australian team. The 31-year-old announced in a retirement statement on Tuesday that the decision to end her career had been "very tough".

The Australian will nevertheless see out this season with the team, including taking part in the Brabantse Pijl one-day race in Belgium on Wednesday.

Elvin's victories include back-to-back Australian road race titles in 2013 and 2014, a stage win at the Internationale Thürungen Rundfahrt in Germany in 2015, and two victories at Belgian Classic Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik in 2015 and 2016, as well as second place at the race in 2018 and second place at the 2017 Tour of Flanders.

"Coming into the last part of the season, and my favorite cobbled Classics races, I am officially announcing my retirement from professional cycling at the end of this year," Elvin wrote in the statement published on the Mitchelton-Scott website.

She joined the team in 2013 following a season at Italian squad Faren-Honda, and has been an integral part of the Mitchelton-Scott set-up since, often riding in the service of Annemiek van Vleuten and Amanda Spratt, while also enjoying her own opportunities at the Belgian Classics, in particular.

"As an Australian female cyclist, it can be tough to make it in the sport because of financial and cultural reasons, and this team has always been one of the leaders in creating opportunities for women to grow and excel," she wrote.

"There are too many people to thank in this letter," Elvin continued, "but I would like to take this opportunity to thank team owner Gerry Ryan. His love and commitment to this team has never wavered, and the women's squad was never overlooked. He has been single handedly one of the most influential people in the growth of Australian cycling, and I owe so much of my career to the opportunities he has created for so long for people like me."

Elvin also admitted that the mid-season halt to racing due to the coronavirus pandemic had contributed to her decision.

"With the break in racing this year, I was able to step away from my usual routines and realise that my values have shifted and no longer align with the demanding lifestyle of pro cycling," she said. "It has given me so many amazing years, and I am so glad I chased my dreams for so long."

(Image credit: Gracie Elvin)

Gracie Elvin's retirement statement in full:

Coming into the last part of the season, and my favorite cobbled Classics races, I am officially announcing my retirement from professional cycling at the end of this year. 

It was a very tough decision to make because of all the wonderful aspects I will be leaving behind, such as the team I have spent my whole career with. It is a testament to the Greenedge team culture to have so many riders and staff stay on for so long. It is a highly professional environment, but more than that it is a family and a very fun group of people. As an Australian female cyclist it can be tough to make it in the sport because of financial and cultural reasons, and this team has always been one of the leaders in creating opportunities for women to grow and excel. I was able to ride alongside some of the world's best riders and learn so much from them, and be supported by so many amazing staff members.

There are too many people to thank in this letter, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank team owner Gerry Ryan. His love and commitment to this team has never wavered, and the women's squad was never overlooked. He has been single handedly one of the most influential people in the growth of Australian cycling, and I owe so much of my career to the opportunities he has created for so long for people like me. He is also one of the most personable people you will ever meet, and with his beautiful wife Val they always took so much personal time and energy for us. I think I can speak for so many riders when I praise Gerry.

There are so many lessons that sport teaches you. For me, I've learned how to be brave by being vulnerable, and not being afraid to fail. I've always raced well on instinct and have learned to trust my instincts in the rest of my life too. Lastly, I've learned that it's the people in your corner who make all the difference. I've grown my community and without these strong connections none of this would have been worth it. My parents were the start of my community and I couldn't have done any of this without them. 

With the break in racing this year I was able to step away from my usual routines and realise that my values have shifted and no longer align with the demanding lifestyle of pro cycling. It has given me so many amazing years, and I am so glad I chased my dreams for so long. When I look back on my palmarès I can see so much to be proud of, but I think I'm most proud of how I did it. If I go back 20 years to my 12 year old self just beginning to ride, I know she wouldn't have imagined everything I achieved not just in races, but as a leader, a role model, and someone willing to stand up for what I believe in.

Thank you to all the fans and supporters of the team and I. It's been one incredible ride so far, and I'm so excited for what's next. I've worked hard for my last few races so I can have fun and enjoy the final moments, and make a few more nice memories with some special people.