After finishing the 100th Tour de France in Paris on Sunday, Australian Stuart O’Grady (Orica-GreenEdge) has announced his retirement from professional cycling.
“I’ve always wanted my career to end with something truly special and this year’s Tour de France has given me that,” O’Grady said in a press release. “We’ve had a great race, and I’m really proud of what we accomplished. Winning a stage and standing on the podium with all my teammates after the team time trial in Nice was a dream come true for me this late in my career, and to be able to defend the yellow jersey for Simon [Gerrans] and Daryl [Impey] was special. I’m extremely happy to have had a chance to do that one more time before I retired.”
O’Grady played a key role in Orica’s opening-week success during the Tour, working to defend the yellow jerseys of Gerrans and Impey before the race hit the Pyrénées. The 2013 Tour was O’Grady’s 17th Tour de France. The Australian all-rounder, winner of the 2007 Paris-Roubaix and four Tour stages (two individual, two team time trial), has started every Tour since 1997.
“Having done all this, I’m happy to say that I’ve had my run,” O’Grady said. “Originally, I wanted to keep going, but I’ve kept thinking that this is the year. We reached big goals as a team at the Tour, and I’m proud to finish my career after an amazing experience with an incredible team. I’m turning 40 very soon, and I’ve realized there are things in my life that I want to prioritize. My family has helped me make this decision. It’s been 23 years of top level performing and 19 years of professional racing, so it’s time to move on.”
A team pursuit world champion on the track, O’Grady turned professional with French squad Gan in 1995. He was a major player in the successes of Bjarne Riis’ CSC team between 2006 and 2010 before moving to Orica in 2012.
“It’s impossible to sum up everything that Stuart has given cycling, but a few things stand out,” Orica general manager Shayne Bannan said. “His commitment to the sport and to his team has been immense. He’s been a huge resource and a fantastic rider for us to work with. To have that kind of dedication at this point in his career shows a lot about his character. He’s a unique person and an incredible athlete. His experience and status in the peloton has been one of the key elements to our success.
“We respect his decision and even if we wanted to keep him, we knew that he had been thinking this after the team time trial win. Bowing out after a legendary career like his has been a hard decision for him, but we’re proud to say that he was part of starting up this team and set the bar for high ambitions from day one.”