PA Sport

Joanna Rowsell Shand seeking fresh challenges after "completed" cycling career

Joanna Rowsell Shand seeking fresh challenges after "completed" cycling career
By PA Sport

20/03/2017 at 15:27Updated 20/03/2017 at 15:31

Joanna Rowsell Shand is relishing getting involved in various new challenges after retiring with the feeling her achievements on the track have made for a "completed" cycling career.

Great Britain's Rowsell Shand, who announced her retirement from international cycling competition last week, has two Olympic golds among an impressive haul of medals on her CV.

As well as those team pursuit triumphs from London 2012 and Rio 2016, the 28-year-old has won five world titles, four European titles and one Commonwealth Games gold medal.

Asked about the timing of her retirement, Rowsell Shand told Press Association Sport on Monday: "It was the toughest decision I have had to make ever, so I wanted to take a good amount of time after Rio.

"There's nothing more I can do in my career.

"I've won the biggest races possible. There's nothing higher you can win than the Olympics, nothing better you can do than world records.

"I have multiple of all of these things, so I guess I felt like I'd completed it in that sense - and now I'm looking for new challenges."

Since Rio, Rowsell Shand has taken part in a triathlon, worked towards cycling coaching qualifications while setting up her own coaching company, and been training for the 180-kilometre L'Etape du Tour in France in July.

On Monday, she was in Stockport at the launch of The Big Pedal 2017, a UK-wide scheme designed to encourage more children to ride a bicycle or scooter to school.

And she is intending to get more involved with alopecia charities, hoping to inspire those who, like her, have the condition.

"One of my mantras has been to focus on what you can control and don't let any other conditions define you," Rowsell Shand said.

"Define yourself how you want to be defined - whether it is as a cyclist or anything else, be the one to choose what that is."

Another project Rowsell Shand has in mind is to finally get together a display of her medals, which have simply been hanging in wardrobes.

"It is a nice little collection and I need to get it displayed! " said Rowsell Shand, who declined to comment on the situation regarding British Cycling and claims of sexism and bullying, but did last week express her gratitude to the organisation in her retirement announcement.

"I've definitely taken my career one year at the time - and I guess surprised myself a bit along the way!"

::Rowsell Shand joined pupils at Cale Green Primary School in Stockport on Monday to launch The Big Pedal 2017. To coincide with the launch, walking and cycling charity Sustrans is releasing new figures which show 91 per cent of UK children are not getting enough exercise. The charity is calling on schools and local authorities in England to use the money from a levy on soft drinks to help more children walk, scoot and cycle the school journey. For more information, go to sustrans.org.uk

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