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Ryan to retire from track cycling

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5/04/2016

Double Olympic medallist Marc Ryan has announced his retirement from track cycling after being a fixture in New Zealand's endurance squad for 14 years.

The Timaru 33-year-old believes the time is right, and says he has complete confidence in the group of young riders who will represent New Zealand at the Rio Olympics.

Ryan has contested three Olympic Games, winning bronze in the team pursuit at Beijing in 2008 and in London four years later.

He has also won four world championship medals in team pursuit: bronze medals at Poland in 2009, Melbourne 2012 and Cali in 2014, before striking gold in Paris last year.

"It's been a big decision but I feel like it's time," Ryan said.

"I've actually tried to retire twice before, after London and then after the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but I was enticed back both as a rider and to mentor the younger guys."

Ryan said the nature of team pursuit had changed significantly in recent years, and no longer suited him as an "old-fashioned" team pursuiter who used road racing to build fitness for the track.

"Team pursuit is now a real power-based sport with a lot more work needed in the gym. That's not me," he said.

"Mostly though, I have full belief in what this group are capable of. They have got depth, they are fast and they've got a lot of horsepower."

With the Rio Olympics just around the corner, Ryan said he was reluctant to go through another campaign and miss out on selection.

"Worse still, I could not bear doing the work and going to Rio but letting these young guys down."

Cycling New Zealand head coach Dayle Cheatley says he respects Ryan's decision and understood his timing.

"Marc has been a fantastic member of the New Zealand track cycling team for many years and his presence will be missed as we prepare for Rio," he said.

"Marc's passion and commitment to track cycling cannot be faulted. He leaves behind a young group of outstanding talent that he has helped mentor to the stage where he can hand over the mantle."

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