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Last race for Wood

By Hedwig Kröner in Varese

Australia's Oenone Wood finished her last race as a professional rider on Saturday at the World Championships road race. Coming in 63rd on the Varese horse track, the two-time World Cup winner was happy to hang up the bike after this season. Moving back home to Australia to be with her family, she said, was her main priority now.

Asked how it felt to finish one's last race, she responded, "Pretty good actually. I was looking forward to having a good end to my career and going home and moving on to new things."

Looking around at the race finish scenery, which she might not be seeing anymore for awhile, the 2005 World bronze medallist had a hard time realizing that pro racing was now a thing of the past. Did it feel strange? "Well, not yet," she said, taking off her glasses and helmet. "I haven't had the time to think about it perhaps. When I go home and won't have to go training every day - that'll probably feel a bit strange after eight years of riding. But I've been away from my family for a long time, so it'll be nice to be back together with them."

Saturday was also the final race for Wood's Australian teammate Natalie Bates, the 2001 and 2002 Australian time trial champion. Bates claimed gold in the Commonwealth Games road race in Melbourne after breaking away from the field for a solo win in front of a home crowd and helped Wood win bronze at the 2005 UCI Road World Championships.

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