Leah Kirchmann announces her retirement from professional cycling

After 12 years as a professional cyclist, Leah Kirchmann will hang up her wheels at the end of 2022; with the Simac Ladies Tour her last planned race with Team DSM before she races the World Championships with Canada.

Spending time with Colavita Forno D’Asolo as her first team before four years honing her craft on the American racing scene with Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies; Kirchmann made the move across the pond fully to join the Team DSM structure in 2016, then known as Team Liv-Plantur.

Immediately finding her feet with the team, 2016 saw the punchy Kirchmann take the win at Drentse Acht van Westerveld before donning the famous Maglia Rosa after an exceptional prologue win at the Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile. In the years since, Kirchmann has continued to take successes herself, winning a total of 12 races throughout her career, alongside being an invaluable team member, who was always willing to work for others: helping the team to 40 victories since 2016. As the seasons have progressed and Kirchmann has grown in experience, she’s also been an important role model for the younger riders within the team and is the ever-consummate professional.

Kirchmann said: “After 12 years in the professional peloton, I’ve decided that I’m ready to invest my energy in other things away from WorldTour racing. Thank you to everyone who helped me on this journey. I never imagined when I first stepped on a bike as a young girl back in Winnipeg that I would one day compete in two Olympic Games, race professionally and represent Canada proudly for so many years on the international stage. I am forever grateful for all the support I’ve received along the way. I’m proud of what I accomplished during my career, and how far I pushed my mental and physical limits as an athlete. I also feel fortunate that I got to help contribute to the success of many teammates during this time – with my favourite victory with the team definitely being the 2017 World Championships TTT win in Bergen. I am so grateful for everything sport has brought to me. I grew up and developed as an athlete surrounded by empowered women who taught me to embrace my strengths, and to not accept the status quo of society. I feel motivated by the momentum behind women’s sport and will continue to help build a better future. If sport has taught me anything, it is that I love to learn and love to embrace big challenges, so I look forward to exploring other opportunities and adventures in this life.”

Team DSM head coach Rudi Kemna added: “Leah has been with us since 2016 and has made great steps in her career here, taking some brilliant results on the road and becoming a role model within the team. A true professional, Leah brought a lot of value to us on and of the bike, supporting the team with her strong riding but also being an important and experienced figurehead for the younger riders; helping their transition to elite level racing and making them feel even more welcomed in the team. We’re really happy with the time we have spent together and from everyone at Team DSM, we wish Leah the best of luck and success for what lies next in the future.”