22 Oct 2016

Cycling's Roulston retires

6:06 pm on 22 October 2016

Double Olympic track cycling medalist Hayden Roulston will draw the curtain on his career after the Tour of Southland.

New Zealand cyclist Hayden Roulston

New Zealand cyclist Hayden Roulston Photo: Supplied by Pete Bruggeman c / o Bike NZ

"The time is right and I feel ready. I've accomplished as much as I possibly can in this sport and I can hold my head high," said Roulston.

"I made it to the top of road cycling and ridden in teams with the best in the sport. I won two medals at the Olympics, went back to the top of road racing and then gave up everything to have a crack at the Olympics after eight years away.

"I am very proud of everything that I've accomplished in this sport. Now it is time to give back to my family and move on to the next stage of my life."

Roulston was born in Ashburton where he followed in his father's footsteps into the sport.

At 21 he ventured to Europe to join the high profile Cofidis team in 2002, then on to the Discovery Channel team in 2004.

He moved to the HealthNet team in USA in 2006, which was cut short when a medical examination revealed an irregular heatbeat and he was advised to stop riding immediately.

After seeking treatment back in New Zealand, and going down the unconventional Reiki route, he returned to the sport to win his first New Zealand Road Championship title and later in the year his first Tour of Southland title.

Roulston became the only New Zealand cyclist to win two medals at the same Olympics with silver to Bradley Wiggins in the individual pursuit and bronze in the team pursuit.

Indoor pursuit silver medallist Hayden Roulston pictured in the Olympic Village the day after his win at the Beijing Olympic Games. 17 August 2008. Photo: Lawrence Smith/PHOTOSPORT

Indoor pursuit silver medallist Hayden Roulston in Beijing, 2008 Photo: Photosport

His performances led to renewed interest from professional teams, returning to the World Tour on the road with the Cervelo Test Team in 2009, then the famed HTC HighRoad team and finished his professional career with Trek Factory Team.

In his career Roulston enjoyed six professional wins, rode in four Grand Tours and 19 Classics where he became the key support rider for multi-world champion Fabian Cancellara.

"I was fortunate to be amoungst the best teams and the biggest names. I was in Lance's (Armstrong) team back in 2005 and I rode for Carlos Sastre who won the Tour de France in 2008."

Roulston vowed he would complete his career at the Olympics, dedicating himself to the track for 12 months after an eight year absence, and winning a place in the Rio team.

To go with his Olympic medals, Roulston won one at the world championships, three at three different Commonwealth Games, four Tours of Southland and four New Zealand Road Championships.

New Zealand's Hayden Roulston on the way to winning the men's individual pursuit at the Oceania track championships. 2015.

New Zealand's Hayden Roulston on the way to winning the men's individual pursuit at the Oceania track championships. 2015. Photo: Eugene Bonthuys

Cycling New Zealand performance director Mark Elliott sais the sport is indebted to Roulston.

"His Olympic success was the spark that helped ignite our high performance programme and since that time he has remained a hugely influential figure for our young riders," said Elliott.

"His successes on the track and the road have been outstanding. But for me what sets Roly aside has been his resilience and determination to fight back from his cardiac condition and return to the track after eight years away to make the team for Rio.

"I am sure he will continue to play a role in the sport and be a positive influence as much off the bike as he has been on it."

Roulston said he has enjoyed unwavering support from family, friends, coaches, professional teams, riders and Cycling New Zealand over his 15 years as a professional.

The 35 year old, who is planning a career in online coaching, will ride for the Placemakers team in the 60th anniversary Tour of Southland which begins this Sunday.