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Ian Stannard, of Team Ineos Grenadiers, had been forced to retire from professional cycling after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. The 33-year old Brit saw no other option after exploring all medical options following his diagnosis.
“It’s disappointing to have to stop like this but it is clearly the right decision for my health and my family. 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 the 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 stated in a press release by his team Ineos-Grenadiers.
“Ian was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 12 months ago,” INEOS Grenadiers Doctor, Richard Usher, said on Stannard’s forced retirement. “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.”
Stannard joined Team SKY when the team first began in 2010. He won several memorable races, most notably the British National Championship in 2012, two stages in the Tour of Britain, both after a long solo attack and the Omloop het Nieuwsblad in 2014 and 2015. In the latter edition Stannard out-foxed three Quickstep riders, Niki Terpsta, Tom Boonen, and Stijn Vandenbergh to take the win. He considers this victory the best of his career.
“My favorite win was undoubtedly the second Omloop victory. I’d broken my back the year before, and the recovery process was the hardest I had to endure in my career,” Stannard said. “Then to beat three Quick-Step riders, in Belgium… It doesn’t get much better really. People still ask me about that win all the time.”
He was always active in the Spring Classics, taking to the start line ten times for both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. He finished third in Paris-Roubaix in 2016, a race where he was in the decisive breakaway but lost in the sprint finish to Matthew Hayman and Tom Boonen.
Stannard was part of Team SKY for three of Chris Froome’s four overall Tour de France victories as well as his two Vuelta a España wins, leading the peloton through the valleys during tough mountain stages and keeping the pace high on the flat stages. He finished nine Grand Tours himself.
“I wanted to keep racing and that competitive fire still burns within me, but I am proud of what I have achieved in the sport and look back at my career with great pride, especially racing for this team. It’s been a dream come true,” Stannard said.