Team Sky stalwart Ian Stannard retires from cycling due to rheumatoid arthritis
British cyclist Ian Stannard has announced his retirement from the sport after suffering with rheumatoid arthritis.
The 33 year-old, who has been riding for Team Sky/Ineos Grenadiers since the outfit’s inception in 2010, was first diagnosed with the condition a year ago.
He continued to race and manage the problem before the coronavirus pandemic, but has only appeared in one race since the sport resumed.
And in that race - the Tour of Poland - Stannard withdrew after stage four.
"It's disappointing to have to stop like this but it is clearly the right decision for my health and my family," he told Sky Sports.
"We have explored all of the options this year to deal with my condition, and the team has been there with me every step of the way.
"I started to hope that I could manage the problem during lockdown, but as soon as I returned to racing I knew that my body wouldn't be able to perform at any level anymore."
Stannard helped teammate Chris Froome to three of his Tour de France titles in 2013, 2015 and 2016.
Individually, the Essex-born rider’s most famous win came in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2015 when he defended his title by beating three Quick-Step teammates on his own in a superb display of strength and resilience.
He also claimed the National Road Championships and finished an impressive third in the 2016 edition of Paris-Roubaix.
"Ian is a rider who gives so much to the race and his team-mates and we all know that he always leaves it all out there on the road," Ineos Grenadiers boss Sir Dave Brailsford added.
"He is one of the hardest, grittiest riders there is, whether racing hard on the cobbles of Belgium or pulling on the front at the Tour de France.
"He has been a core part of our team since day one and we will miss him, but he can look back proudly on a career that's captured the true spirit of our sport and thrilled so many British cycling fans."