After a long and successful career on both the track and road, Dutch rider Kirsten Wild will be retiring at the end of the 2021 season.
The 38-year-old Ceratizit-WNT sprinter was taking part in the final road race of her career at the Simac Ladies Tour when she was caught up in the crash towards the end of stage three, thus missing out on one final road sprint. Then, later that day a Covid-19 positive in her team forced Wild and the rest of the Ceratizit-WNT riders out of the race.
“This is not the way I would have planned it but on the other hand, it’s fitting for the past one and a half years where we hardly did any track tournaments due to the pandemic,” Wild told CyclingTips on Saturday.
“I got COVID myself and missed the Spring Classics in autumn of 2020, and again this spring. It was a period in which I had to fight really hard. That it ends now with something Corona-related again is fitting.”
Wild, who has been a professional rider since 2004, admitted that she wasn’t happy with the way her road career ended: “I thought I was fine with how this ended because the stages on Saturday and Sunday didn’t and don’t suit me,” she said, “but this morning it was different and it was harder than I thought. That moment I put away my bike on Friday was the last time ever, and I would have liked to have experienced that moment more consciously. Cycling has been a part of me for over 20 years. It hit a nerve more than I thought.”
Wild added that she would advise her younger self to “‘enjoy the moment more” at races.
Although she has now ended her road career, Wild still has two major track competitions to race before fully closing the door on her 17-year career.
She will compete at the European and World Championships in the autumn, however she is somewhat removed from the outcome: “I don’t think I have anything to prove anymore,” she said. “That bronze medal in the omnium in Tokyo was a great way to end it. I always wanted an Olympic medal and now I have one.”