London 2012 hero Rowe retires

London 2012 gold medallist Dani Rowe has announced she'll be stepping down from the saddle after a glittering cycling career that exceeded even her childhood dreams.

The 28-year-old topped the podium at her home Olympic Games in team pursuit alongside Laura Kenny and Joanna Rowsell.

A three-time team pursuit world champion, Rowe took Commonwealth Games bronze in the road race earlier this year.

She believes now is the right time to take the next step but insists cycling remains in her plans going forward.

“After winning a medal in the Commonwealth Games I have won a major medal in all that I can in cycling and it’s now time to enter the next chapter of my life,” she wrote on her website.

“I feel privileged to be able to finish my professional cycling career on my own terms & in a great place mentally with the sport.

“I’m an achiever & I’m driven through hitting and improving on targets I set myself.

“I’ve already got exciting plans in place for 2019, including how I remain in this amazing sport, and I look forward to sharing this with you in the New Year.”

Born and raised in Hampshire, Rowe was first spotted at 14 when British Cycling visited her school to carry out testing.

Her star rose quickly and she claimed her first UCI Track World Championships team pursuit title before her 21st birthday.

She added gold at the UEC European Track Championships to her collection later that year – her first of two European titles – before achieving Olympic glory a year later.

And Rowe’s cycling life extended well beyond the track: she was appointed MBE for her services to cycling in 2013 and married her husband Matthew Rowe, whom she met through cycling, in 2017, making it all the more difficult for her to call time on her career.

“I feel that it would have been an easier decision to carry on cycling, as it’s something that’s defined me since the age of 14,” she continued.

“Cycling has enriched my life in so many ways, and given me the highest of highs and also plenty of lows that have shaped me into the person I am today, and I will always be so thankful for that. I’ve met my closest friends and my husband through the sport.

“To have been multiple National champion, multiple European champion, Commonwealth Games medallist, 3 times World Champion, and have won Olympic Gold in my home country, is more than I could have ever dreamed of.”

Great Britain Cycling Team Performance Director Stephen Park paid tribute to Rowe’s remarkable career, citing the crucial role she has played in helping the next generation of GB cyclists emerge.

“On behalf of everyone within the Great Britain Cycling Team, I’d like to congratulate Dani on what has been a truly exceptional career,” he said.

“Dani’s achievements and medal record are there for all to see, but for those who have worked closely with her, she has been not only a wonderfully talented bike rider, but also a true team player who has possessed all the qualities a coach could ask for in a rider.

“Her fighting spirit and resilience have been evident at various points during her career and, throughout her impressive list of achievements, her attitude has been exemplary.

“That has become increasingly important in recent years, as she’s acted as a senior member of our women’s road squad – she’s been a true role model for the younger members of the squad and, I’m sure, for many, many other riders who have watched from afar.”