Rowsell Shand bids farewell to glittering international cycling career

With two Olympic gold medals and a whole host of World, European and Commonwealth titles to her name, Jo Rowsell Shand has called time on her international cycling career after ten years at the top of the sport.

Having first been spotted by British Cycling as a schoolgirl, she won her first team pursuit World Championship title four years later, in 2008, alongside Wendy Houvenaghel and Rebecca Romero.

With Lizzie Deignan replacing Romero, they successfully defended their gold medal the following year, before Rowsell Shand - who now sits on the British Olympic Association's Athletes' Commission - added further World titles in 2012 and 2014, also winning the individual pursuit in the latter year.

At the London 2012 Olympic Games, Rowsell Shand won her first Olympic gold medal, coming alongside Laura Kenny and Dani King, with the trio breaking the world record on six occasions en route to glory.

Appointed an MBE in 2013, Rowsell Shand won her fourth European team pursuit title two years later, before retaining her Olympic title at Rio 2016 alongside Kenny, Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker.

“Having been part of the GB Cycling Team for over 10 years, travelling around the world racing my bike, today I am announcing my retirement from international cycling competition,” she wrote on her website.

“I have achieved everything I've ever wanted to in cycling including five World titles, four European titles, Commonwealth gold and two Olympic golds, as well as countless World Cup and National Championship medals across both team and individual events.

“But more valuable than any of these are the special friends for life, amazing memories made, and the transformation from shy school girl to confident woman.

“I have enjoyed this fabulous career and the decision to step away has been the hardest I've ever had to make, but now is the time for me to move on.

“I believe I have more to offer the world and I'm now looking forward to the next phase of my life and new challenges.”

But while Rowsell Shand may be stepping away from the international cycling scene, she’s not hanging up her cleats for good just yet.

The 28-year-old will now turn her hand to coaching, as well as preparing for July’s L’Etape du Tour – her longest bike ride to date.

“I want to thank the amazing team at British Cycling, from the world class team behind the team who work tirelessly to ensure we have the best preparation for events, to the very first youth coaches who talent spotted me back when I was 15,” she added.

“I couldn’t have done it without you! Thank you to all my team mates past and present, the cycling clubs and teams I have been a part of, my brilliant sponsors, the amazing fans for their fantastic encouragement, and to my family for their incredible support throughout my career.”

Sportsbeat 2017