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Ruth Winder will hang up her racing wheels this year.
The former U.S. road race champion announced in a video posted by her Trek-Segafredo team that she would retire at the end of 2021.
Winder, 28, said she had made the decision so that she could spend more time with her friends and family in America.
“I’ve made the decision that this will be my last year racing as a professional cyclist, which is an exciting decision for me,” Winder said. “I feel like I’ve been on the verge of making this decision for a few years and I really feel at peace with it in my heart. I feel really lucky to be on Trek-Segafredo and I feel like I’ve reached so many of my dreams already but my heart misses home while I’m on the road so much.
“I think, as an American, or as somebody who doesn’t live in Europe you have to sacrifice a lot of your life when you’re in Europe racing. It’s not that I don’t love racing anymore or I don’t love the team anymore or couldn’t get a contract, it’s none of those things. I feel like I’m a really strong cyclist in the peloton, but I feel like I miss home a lot.”
Today is a very special day for @RuthWinder
Firstly, it's her birthday 🥳 🎂
Then, she wants to tell you an exciting news: 2021 will be her last season in pro cycling 🙌
— Trek-Segafredo (@TrekSegafredo) July 9, 2021
Winder started her career on the track and won several junior and elite national titles in the team pursuit. She has been a professional on the road since 2014 when she raced with the UnitedHealthcare team and joined Team Sunweb in 2018 before moving to Trek-Segafredo for its debut season the following year.
During her career, Winder won stages of the Giro d’Italia Donne, in the team time trial and from a breakaway, and wore the pink jersey on two occasions – including this year. She took the U.S. national road race title in 2019 and won last year’s Women ‘s Tour Down Under.
Winder will compete at the Olympic Games for Team USA this month after being a reserve for the track team in 2016.
She said that her decision to retire had been aided by the coronavirus pandemic, which had made it harder for her to see her family.
“I came to the decision for this to be my last year over the last two years. Definitely, with the coronavirus pandemic that’s happened, it’s helped me in a way because my loved ones have not been able to travel and visit me but also just really realizing what I wanted to get out of the sport and what goals I wanted to achieve and what it was that makes me happy,” she said.
Winder is not sure what she plans to do next but is sure that it will involve cycling in some way.
“I would love to stay in cycling somehow. There is a really good junior program in Boulder that I would love to work with,” she said. “I’m a coach currently, and I would love to do some more. I would do some gravel racing in the US and hope to have a really good time.
“Women’s cycling, I can remember from when I first started coming over to Europe to now, it’s changed so much. It’s true that it’s getting so much bigger and next year we have a women’s Tour de France, which is huge, and it’s really awesome to have been part of this.”