British track star Victoria Pendleton has given the strongest indication yet that she will quit professional cycling after the London 2012 Olympic Gameslater this summer.
Pendleton told BBC Sport that after a decade at the top she was craving a “normal” life and predicted that she would find it almost impossible to motivate herself for further cycling goals once her home Olympics have finished.
Pendleton is easily the most recognisable face in British women’s cycling. She won gold in the individual sprint at the 2008 Olympics and has won nine world championship titles – the most recent of which came in April at the2012 Track World Championships in Melbourne, where she defeated her great rival, Australia’s Anna Meares, along the way. On home soil in London she will be favourite to retain her Olympic title and will also be contesting the team sprint alongside Jess Varnish.
“London feels the right place to say ‘thank you very much'”, Pendleton said. “No-one would begrudge me a normal life. I think I’ll step away. I’d like to work in sport, but maybe not elite sport and cycling. I’m not ready to go back and stand track side.
“I could carry on for another four years, but it would not be my first choice. I would not want to do something that would make me unhappy. My sister just had baby so I’m ‘Auntie Vicky’. Things like that make me a little envious of her life. I’d like to do normal things and settle down – maybe have a family. I don’t want to leave it too late.”