Former US criterium champion Leigh Ann Ganzar (Rally Cycling) made it official on Wednesday and announced her retirement from professional cycling, which she called “a surprise second sporting career that I never imagined going so far. “.
The 32-year-old Colorado native burst into national limelight in 2018 as he rode for a small Texas-based team, Wolfpack-Hyperthreads, and edged out the late Kelly Catlin, who was a three-time champion. world on track, to win the US Pro Criterium Title in Knoxville, Tennessee.
She would go on to rack up multiple podiums and victories in stage races and one-day events over the next three seasons, the last two with Rally Cycling, including wins in 2019 at the Winston Salem Cycling Classic and in 2020 at the ‘stage 5 of the Tour de l’Ardèche. However, lingering symptoms of a concussion suffered in May during a stage race in Spain prevented Ganzar from riding during the summer and led to his decision to put the racing bike aside.
“It’s bittersweet to quit professional cycling due to a head injury because I still had a lot to learn and give to the sport as a rider. I have had a short but enjoyable career and I was able to experience a great bucket of cycling items from the list, ”said Ganzar Cycling news Wednesday of its decision.
In May, during the opening stage race of the 2021 season for his rally team, Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, Ganzar and several teammates were caught in a big crash on stage 3. Olivia Ray retired due to ‘a fibula fracture in the pile-up, while Breck and Ganzar did not start the fourth and final stage. Six days later, Ganzar lined up for the Navarra Women’s Elite Classics in Spain, but couldn’t finish and returned to the United States.
Persistent problems with post-concussion syndrome also ruled out any chance of winning back a national crown at the US Pro Nationals in June, and she hasn’t won a race this season.
“I have been fortunate enough to run and travel the world with an incredible array of teammates and staff. But I’m still struggling with concussion issues from an accident 6 months ago. to Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, and I had another concussion last year, so I’m retiring in favor of my brain health, “Ganzar said.
“Rally Cycling supported me so much during this time and I never felt any pressure to resume racing or training. All the staff, medics and my teammates encouraged me to focus on recovery and have respected my decision. “
Ganzar came to cycling after a varsity running career at Baylor University, where she raced track and field and cross country from 2007-2011 and earned a degree in biology. She started her cycling career in earnest in 2015 after teaching English to university students in Brazil for two years. In 2017 with Wolfpack-Hyperthreads, Ganzar got used to the top step of the podium, winning three races at the Intelligentsia Cup near Chicago and the Oklahoma City Pro-Am Classic.
In 2018, she won the title on Day 2 of the Oklahoma City Pro-Am Classic, but was still under the radar of the U.S. Nationals Pro Criterium later in the month. She made her winning move on the penultimate lap of the 1.8 mile course in downtown Knoxville with Catlin and Jennifer Luebke (Hagens Berman-Supermint), crossing the line under one bike wheel to claim the stars and stripes jersey.
“Looking back on my career as a professional cyclist with a clarity that can only be achieved after the trip is over. While I will always feel that I have more in the tank to give to professional road racing, I am proud of my career, ”Ganzar said on his Instagram account Wednesday.
“Thank you to all my former teams and teammates for the memories I will cherish forever, and to my family and Ty [Stewart] for supporting this surprise second sporting career that I didn’t think would go so far.
Ganzar graduated in biology before her cycling career took off and continued her education in Austin, Texas, where she is now a postdoctoral fellow at a research center focused on children’s health. His transition is already underway for the next winning moves that will be off the bike.
“I never stopped working while cycling. My research focuses on children’s physical activity, active trips to school and changes to safe cycling infrastructure. I will therefore continue this work. I won’t be too far removed from cycling, but instead of running I will try to make road riding easier and safer for the next generation, ”she said. Cycling news.
Last month, 24-year-old Emma White made a surprise announcement to retire from her cycling career, ending six years with Rally Cycling. White had also competed on the track for Team USA and was part of the women’s team pursuit team which won a gold medal at the 2020 UCI Track Cycling World Championships and a bronze medal. at the Tokyo Olympics.