Michael Barry has announced that he will retire from professional cycling at the end of this season.
In a career spanning 14 years, Michael has earned a reputation as one of the hardest working domestiques in the peloton and has captivated many cycling fans through his way with words and an infectious love for the sport.
Riding kilometre after kilometre on the front, Barry has carved out a niche that has seen him compete at the highest level with a number of successful teams including US Postal, Discovery Channel and Columbia-HTC.
He was a founding member of Team Sky when he signed at the end of 2009, and over the last three seasons has set an example to the rest of the squad with his positive attitude, unwavering commitment to the cause, and wealth of cycling knowledge.
Although he has sacrificed his own chances of success on countless occasions, Michael has won individual stages at the Tours of Austria and Missouri, and also been part of triumphant team time trial squads at the Giro d'Italia, Volta a Catalunya, Tour de Romandie and Vuelta a Espana.
Change of direction
A statement from Michael read: "After a lifetime of bicycle racing and experiences that have taken me around the world, introduced me to my wife and my closest friends, I am ready to retire as a professional cyclist. 2012 will be my last racing season. My final race will be at the end of October.
"Cycling will forever be my passion but it is time to change direction to spend more time with my family. I’ve reached a period in my life where I want to grow in other directions and experience some of what I had put on hold while racing.
"As a boy, I was fortunate to have supportive parents who surrounded me with a nurturing community. Through the most challenging moments in my cycling life and career, my family has been the safety net that gave me the confidence to persist.
"Firstly, I must thank them for their unwavering support and love. My wife, Dede, a retired professional cyclist, supported my career and goals and understood the sacrifices a cyclist’s family must make.
"Through my 14-year professional career I’ve been fortunate to race with many of the top teams. From my first coaches and club-mates, to Dave Brailsford and my Team Sky team-mates, I’ve had the opportunity to race and learn from many of the best.
"The last three years on Team Sky has been ideal on every level. Racing is the job I dreamed of doing. I must thank my team-mates, coaches, and rivals for making the job satisfying and memorable.
"The emotions after crossing the finish line, sitting on the bus with team-mates and recounting the day will be hard to recreate.
"Many of my fondest memories involve the bike but reach far beyond races: riding through the parks with my mother on the way to school, riding with my father, uncle and aunt through Provence, riding with my wife in the Rocky Mountains, and teaching my sons to ride their bikes. On the bike, our relationships developed. That will continue long after I retire as cycling will always be a part of me.
"Cycling has given me something that reaches far beyond finish lines and race results. Over the last year, as I’ve thought of retirement and reflected on my career, this has become increasingly clear.
"The racing journey has been a thrill but the cycling journey will continue."