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Ian Stannard forced to retire due to rheumatoid arthritis

One-day Classics man Ian Stannard brings an end to his career aged 33

Joe Robinson
5 Nov 2020

Britain's joint-best finisher at Paris Roubaix Ian Stannard has been forced into early retirement due to rheumatoid arthritis.

The 33-year-old former National Champion has been struggling with the auto-immune condition for the past 12 months, with it ultimately forcing him to call time on his professional career.

'It’s disappointing to have to stop like this but it is clearly the right decision for my health and my family,' Stannard said in a statement from the Ineos Grenadiers.

'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.'

Team doctor Richard Usher added context to Stannard's condition saying, 'Ian was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 12 months ago. It has caused him severe inflammation in the joints, and Ian has had pain in his wrists, knees and ankles.

'We have tried various treatments but ultimately Ian has taken the best decision for his long term health.'

The Essex-born rider will bring an early close to his career after 14 years as a professional rider. Stannard will be best remembered for his decade with British WorldTour team Ineos Grenadiers, formerly Team Sky, to which he was one of the riders to join the team at inception in 2010.

One of the greatest British one-day Classics riders of all time, Stannard can count two Omloop Het Nieuwsblad victories among his palmares alongside third-place finishes at both E3 Harelbeke and Paris-Roubaix.

His finest moment came at the 2015 Omloop Het Nieuswblad when he managed to outfox and outmuscle Etixx-QuickStep trio Niki Terpstra, Tom Boonen and Stijn Vandenburgh to a memorable victory, a result Stannard chalks down as his best.

On his retirement, team manager Dave Brailsford paid homage to Stannard's selfless efforts over the past decade and his ability to perform at some of cycling's toughest races.

'Ian is a rider who gives so much to the race and his teammates and we all know that he always leaves it all out there on the road,' said Brailsford.

'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.'