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Lyne Bessette retires

By Mark Zalewski, North American editor

Canadian cyclist Lyne Bessette (T-Mobile) announced her retirement Wednesday, just after pulling out of the Tour de l'Aude last week. Bessette has has a rough 2006, suffering a shoulder injury on March 15 while training on the mountain bike course of the Commonwealth Games and subsequently not competing as well as crashing in January at the Geelong Tour in Australia.

The 31 year-old native of Knowlton, Quebec excelled in many facets of cycling, winning national titles in road, time trial and cyclo0cross as well as the gold medal in the 1998 Commonwealth Games road race. Before racing for the T-Mobile team this year, Bessette rode for the Quark and Saturn teams. It was on the Saturn team where she met her husband Tim Johnson.

The Canadian press reported that Bessette is retiring mostly because of her recent injuries. "I wanted to go until 2008, but I always said I'll go step by step and if one day I don't feel like it, I'm going to stop," she said. "Of course, the injuries in the last couple of months accelerated my decision. I'm really thinking about my body now and I've crashed a lot and I'm scared. Once you've crossed that line, it's impossible to keep going."

Bessette will not take part in the upcoming Le Tour du Grand Montréal or Montréal World Cup this weekend. She said she plans to work on a cycling program for a Quebec-based health club chain before deciding on a long-term career plan.

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