SIR Bradley Wiggins has announced his retirement from cycling with immediate effect, ending a 14-year professional career as Britain's most successful ever Olympian.
The 36-year-old was part of Britain's four-man team pursuit side that won gold at the Rio Olympics, and despite teasing that he could continue into 2017, he released an announcement via his Facebook page to confirm he was retiring from the sport.
Victory in the team pursuit clinched Wiggins his fifth Olympic gold medal of an illustrious career, and when added to by his one silver and two bronze medals, makes him the most successful British Olympian in history. Only Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny have more gold medals with six, but with an additional silver each they fall short of Wiggins' record eight medals.
The Kilburn-born cyclist also has seven track world championship gold medals to his name, and Wiggins also enjoyed a successful transition to road racing after the turn of the decade, with his crowning glory coming when he became the first Briton to win the Tour de France in 2012, along with stage race victories in the Criterium du Dauphine, Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie, Tour of Britain and the Tour of California across a three-year period from 2011 until 2014.
During that time, Wiggins also won gold at the world time trial championships, and a year later broke the hour record.
A statement released on his Facebook page said: "I have been lucky enough to live a dream and fulfil my childhood aspiration of making a living and a career out of the sport I fell in love with at the age of 12. I've met my idols and ridden with and alongside the best for 20 years. I have worked with the world's best coaches and managers who I will always be grateful to for their support.
"What will stick with me forever is the support and love from the public through thick and thin, all as a result of riding a pushbike for a living. 2012 blew my mind and was a gas. Cycling has given me everything and I couldn't have done it without the support of my wonderful wife Cath and our amazing kids.
"2016 is the end of the road for this chapter, onwards and upwards, 'feet on the ground, head in the clouds, kids from Kilburn don't win Olympic golds and Tour de Frances'! They do now.”
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