VICTORIA Pendleton may have announced her retirement from the sport at the age of 31 while Sir Chris Hoy is still going strong at 36, but the six-times Olympic champion insists Queen Vic was right to call it a day.
Pendleton had known for a long time that London 2012 was going to be her farewell from the sport she has been competing in for the best part of two decades.
A BBC documentary aired in the build up to the Games revealed Pendleton’s love-hate relationship with the sport of cycling as well as the emotional stress she had undergone after her relationship with the team’s sports scientist, Scott Gardner, caused friction with her team-mates.
And, with a gold and a silver to take away from these Games, Hoy hopes that Pendleton has now achieved everything she wanted from the sport of cycling.
“I hope that Vicky goes on to do something that she genuinely enjoys and just enjoys her life,” said Hoy, who was helping to launch Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week 2013 alongside pupils from Brentside High School.
“In that documentary with what she has gone through in the last couple of years she has been quite open with her relationship with cycling and that she hasn’t always enjoyed it.
“So I certainly hope she does find a bit of happiness in what she chooses to do next.
“It is an end of an era with the number of athletes retiring now, which is sad in a way because things are splitting up.
“Yes we will see each other because for a lot of the guys in the team they are genuinely best friends, there are some people you won’t see quite so much.
“But a lot of the guys genuinely are very close, so it is not that you are not going to see them again but it is an end of an era.”
Pendleton leaves the sport of track cycling behind her as Team GB’s greatest ever female competitor.
The 31-year-old has two golds and a silver over her three Olympics as well as nine world championship titles, and Hoy is adamant her contribution to the sport is immeasurable.
“She has certainly raised the profile and has gone out there and put female cycling and female sprinting on the map,” he added.
“And not just by appearing on the front of magazine covers, she has done it by winning gold medals which is the important thing.”
n Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week is using the inspiration of London 2012 to encourage school sport participation across the UK. Visit www.lloydstsb.com/london2012