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Zak Dempster moves into management role at Israel Cycling Academy

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Zak Dempster has announced his retirement from professional cycling after a 15-year career and will move into a management role with Israel Cycling Academy in 2020.

"I’m so grateful I was able to do it, but I’m happy its over. I won’t miss the suffering,” Dempster said in a post on Israel Cycling Academy's social media account on Saturday.

"Cycling is such a hard sport, there’s no way to be a professional without pushing yourself to the absolute limit. I’m so glad and grateful I got the chance to do it for so many years but I’m so happy it’s over now and I can do it for fun on Saturday mornings when I feel like it."

Dempster will join Israel Cycling Academy's management team next season. The team have taken over Katusha-Alpecin team and have secured a place in the 2020 WorldTour.

"I am so happy to be staying in the ICA structure, I’ve felt more at home here than anywhere my whole career so I can’t think of a better place to take the next step in my career," he said.

Dempster started his professional career in 2006 with the Continental team Drapac-Porsche. During the following eight seasons he raced for teams South Australia-AIS, Bourgas and Rapha-Condor, while also spending time as a trainee with the WorldTour team HTC-HighRoad in 2011.

In 2013, he joined the Professional Continental ranks with NetApp-Endura before moving to Bora-Argon and then Israel Cycling Academy, where he has spent he last three years of his career.

"Time and again he has proven to be the rock our younger riders can rely upon to lead and guide them both in the races and elsewhere," said team manager Kjell Carlstrom. "And then of course, he lead by example by delivering results."

Dempster, 32, closed out his 15-year career with a victory at the Veenendaal-Veenendaal Classic on August 21. Other career highlights include victory at Tesco Rutland, Melton International Cicle Classic, and stages at Ronde de l'Oise, Tour of Japan and Czech Cycling Tour. He also had top-10 finishes at RideLondon-Surrey Classic, Ronde van Drenthe, and Nokere Koerse.

"I had so many nice moments in my career but winning that race was like nothing else," Dempster said of his victory at Veenendaal. 

"I wasn’t a winner and that’s okay, but that’s what I was working for all these years so to finally do it was something else."

Dempster thanked his former teammates, team management and family for supporting his career.

"The whole experience of racing my bike all these years has been an absolute privilege. It’s hard to sum it up in words but the main thing I wanted to express was how grateful I am for all that I gained these years," Dempster said.

"My favourite part of being a rider was definitely sharing all those moments; good, great, bad and terrible with those great people that were there with me through everything. My family being there from the start, my friends I’ve met along the way which became my family. Along with all the coaches, soigneurs, mechanics and anyone else that was there for me through thick and thin.

"But first and foremost, Cristina, the love of my life and of course Ruby (it would’ve been a geographical challenge to meet Cristina de La Canya whilst living in Castlemaine, then adopt the nicest greyhound there is from Jaén, that’s for sure)."

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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.