Australian Loren Rowney has announced her retirement from cycling at the age of 28 after five years in the women's professional peloton. Rowney extended her contract with the Australian Orica-Scott team for another year at the end of 2016 but did not compete in any of the races on home soil over the 'summer of cycling'.
Rowney detailed her battles with mental health last year but managed to ride 48 race days in the season and enjoyed a stage victory at the Tour de Feminin.
"The decision to call it quits meant I no longer had a nice sponsored bike living in my livingroom or garage, the envy of most at the cafe. A huge chapter of my life has just come to a close, and I’m feeling rather empty and directionless. I know it will take some time to process, and I haven’t had the greatest closure," wrote Rowney on the Peloton Brief. "Falling into a depressive state is a high risk based on my prior history with mental health. I recognise this, I acknowledge the facts about myself, but I am adamant this was the right decision for me, however sudden it might appear to some.
"And to the naysayers, no, I am not throwing an opportunity most would kill for. I took the opportunity when it was presented all those years ago, I ran with it, I learned and grew from it, but now it’s time to close this chapter. My only regret was perhaps not recognising that I had been kidding myself for some time."
Turning professional in 2012 with Specialized-lululemon, Rowney enjoyed stage wins at Women's Tour Of New Zealand, La Route de France, Gracia Orlova, Tour Languedoc Roussillon and La Route de France. Rowney described that while there is uncertainty for what her future holds, she is committed to finishing an environmental science degree and spend more time mountain biking.
Guarnier mourns loss of Philly Classic
Following the cancellation of the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic due to a lack of financial support, last year's winner Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans) told Cyclingnews that the loss of the iconic race is "a real shame".
"The International Philadelphia Cycling Classic was added to the Women's World Tour calendar in the inaugural year of the series, and that was a huge step for cycling, specifically women's cycling, in the United States," Guarnier added.
"I was so proud to race the highest level race on home soil, and Philadelphia was particularly special because my family was able to come out to watch it. From my experience, the community really embraced the Philly Classic and allowed us to showcase our exciting sport. I am sad that I will not have the opportunity to return to Philadelphia next year, as it is a race I had always looked forward to and the fans were incredible on the Manyunk wall!"
The race was one of the few one-day road races on the pro calendar in the US for women - the Anniston McClellan Road Race and Winston Salem Classic are the only others.
Hagens Berman-Supermind manager Jono Coulter said he was "gutted" for Robin Morton and her g4 productions crew, which took over the race in 2014.
"This is a massive hole for racing in the USA," Coulter said. "Philly has always been a pinnacle of the season for my teams. In fact I remember sitting on Benjamin Franklin Parkway in 2007 just being blown away by the enormity of the race with the crowds, the helicopters, the VIP Limos following the race & making a mental note that cycling in America is really like nowhere else."
Without the expense of bringing a team to Philadelphia, Coulter said he would explore other options. "I have reached out to other international race organizers to ensure we get a start. Gatineau is a great option."
Nash elected to UCI Athletes' Commission
Katerina Nash, a Czech cyclo-cross and mountain bike racer who resides in the US, was elected to the UCI Athlete's Commission in a vote of her peers, taken at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Bieles, Luxembourg, this weekend.
Nash, who won the bronze medal at Worlds on Saturday, won the post with 38.6 per cent of the votes, more than any of the other eight candidates, will serve with Swiss rider Simon Zahner for four years.
The UCI Athletes' Commission now comprises 16 members, eight men and eight women, who will be a direct link to the UCI Management Committee for athletes in all cycling disciplines, and act as ambassadors, promote ethics and fair play rules, help to improve the rights of athletes and help them understand the resources available to them during and after their sporting careers, according to a UCI announcement.
Nash said via Twitter, "I'm very fortunate to be bike racer. Have been for many years! Time to give back to the sport I care so much about. Thanks for the vote!"
Van Vleuten nabs first win of 2017
Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten took out her first win for her new Orica-Scott team in this weekend's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
The 34-year-old was not a protected rider for the race, but in her work for her teammates she marked a move that chased down lone attacker Emma Pooley, and then out-sprinted her companions Ruth Winder (UnitedHealthcare) and Mayuko Hagiwara (Wiggle-High5) for the win.
"I have surprised myself. In the Tour Down Under I was struggling uphill but today I was one of the better riders uphill," van Vleuten said.
"Katrin Garfoot and Amanda Spratt were supposed to be our leaders and they didn't have a great day. I noticed on the climbs that they weren't there anymore and that it was only me.
"I had done already some work so I felt some pressure thinking maybe I have to also finish this race off. I think this is one of my strengths that I am a bit older and I have a big engine."