Two legends of cycling bowed out of the sport on Saturday night in London. Triple Olympic gold medallist, Ed Clancy, and nine-time World Champion, Kirsten Wild both closed out their careers on the boards of the Lee Valley Velodrome, in front of a rapturous crowd.
“I’ve had my fill,” said a grinning Clancy after the series finale. “I’ve given my best and it’s been an amazing way to check out.”
Never before have I had such a cheer for getting 18th place in a bike race
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Despite the fact that he was never in contention the crowd, he said, “was unbelievable. Never before have I had such a cheer for getting 18th place in a bike race.”
It was, he said, a valuable experience to be able to compete in one last event after the disappointment of Tokyo 2020:
“For me to call this a warm-down lap doesn’t give this event justice, but it’s almost been a transition. I put my heart and soul into Tokyo. That event, my team-mates, the boys, British Cycling. It meant everything to me. That was when everything was at its most raw. And this has been an amazing chance to step into retirement. It does feel incredibly strange but I think now’s the time to move on.”
Clancy also paid tribute to everyone who has contributed to his successful career:
“The support from day one - from British Cycling, from the general public, my team-mates - it’s been amazing. In an ideal situation, you’d stand on the top step of the podium, like Sir Chris did all those years ago, but I guess I did the next best thing. I’ve had a riot; I’ve met some amazing people. Thank you and goodbye.”

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Kirsten Wild, for her part, was in a similarly content, but somewhat less certain headspace.
“It’s a bit of a strange feeling,” the Dutch great told Orla Chennaoui. “It’s also a bit of a mixed feeling. In one way I’m relieved that it’s finished, and I’m ready to finish. In another way it’s sad. It’s such a big part of my life and now it’s finished.”
Wild fared somewhat better than Clancy in the series, finishing in second place in the endurance competition, with one more victory to her name.

Kirsten Wild (2nd left) joins a selfie on her final night as a professional

Image credit: SWPix

Despite the sadness, she heads into retirement with no regrets:
“I feel like it’s enough, and I’m happy that it’s over. Even though it’s a super nice sport and I still feel passionate for track cycling, it’s something really nice to do. This league is really nice for people to watch track cycling, and I hope people get as enthusiastic about cycling as I am, but for me it’s enough.”
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