Champion NZ cyclist Shanks calls it a day

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17 May 2019

New Zealand’s double world champion Alison Shanks, who’s battled injury over the past two years, is retiring from cycling.

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Shanks, who nursed a hip problem through her 2012 London Olympics campaign, had surgery afterwards with aim of making the Glasgow Commonwealth Games this year and the Rio Olympics in 2016.

But she says she can no longer manage the demands for getting back to the top of her sport.

“I have a real passion for what I do and have always committed 100 per cent, but I have to listen to my body when enough is enough,” the Commonwealth Games gold medallist said.

“If I can’t do something 100 per cent physically and mentally, then it’s time to find a new challenge and start a new adventure.”

While her hip was improving and she believed she could earn selection for Glasgow, Shanks didn’t want to be in the team just to make up the numbers.

She said neither she nor her coach, husband Craig Palmer, wanted to do something unless it was to the best of their ability.

“I’ve been working hard, but the spark and passion that drives me is not there,” she said.

“In every athlete’s career there has to be one final finish line and I’ve reached mine.”

Shanks, 31, said the decision to retire was tough, but she knew it was the right one and she was satisfied with what she had achieved with her support team.

She hoped to remain involved in cycling and would continue in her role as an Olympic ambassador with the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

She was also looking to put her marketing and nutrition degrees to use.

Shanks collected world titles in the 3000m individual pursuit in Pruskow, Poland, in 2009 and in Melbourne in 2012.

She won the same event at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and just missed out on a medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where she finished fourth.

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