Amy Cure has hit the brakes on a career unique in world cycling.
The only track rider ever to medal in every world championship endurance event has decided to call time on a sport which has dominated more than half her life.
Despite qualifying for her third Olympic Games, West Pine's multiple world and Commonwealth champion has decided she cannot wait another year to try and add to her illustrious record.
"In elite sport it takes so much hard work to stay on top of the game," the 27-year-old said when announcing her retirement on Friday.
"It is physically and mentally exhausting and to do it for so long has a huge impact with the sacrifices you make with your family and relationships.
"I've reached a point where I am satisfied and proud of my achievements but don't want to keep making sacrifices in relationships that mean so much to me."
Cure described a career which began at the Christmas Carnivals and took her to every continent except Africa and Antarctica as a "long, hard, gruelling journey". She admitted struggling for motivation following the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics until August 2021 due to coronavirus which was compounded by nagging back pain requiring epidural injections and made worse by long-haul travel.
"It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make because cycling has given me so many incredible experiences.
"In truth, I've been finding it difficult to enjoy sport for a while. I've been trying to mix it up just to get through to Tokyo and thinking 'it's only a few more months' and when it was not just a few more but another year away I had to sit down and decide 'is this really what I want?'
"I know I'm not going to win an Olympic gold medal just by going through the motions but we have a group of girls that have the ability to do it and I'd rather give someone else that opportunity who has the drive and motivation to do it. It wouldn't be fair on my teammates otherwise because I've been in that position and I know what it takes to win. I know I don't have that determination any more."
Starting out in 2005 as a "12-year-old ankle-biter wanting to conquer the world", Cure achieved that goal, winning multiple junior world titles before amassing 13 medals as a senior including three golds. This encompassed the entire endurance program of points race (gold 2014), scratch race (silver 2015), madison (silver 2019, bronze 2017), omnium (bronze 2017), individual pursuit (silver 2013; bronze 2014 and '15) and team pursuit (gold 2015 and '19, silver 2013 and '17, bronze 2014).
It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make because cycling has given me so many incredible experiences.Amy Cure
Cure won silver and bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 which she upgraded to double gold four years later although her three Olympic campaigns saw her miss out on a ride as a teenager in London, suffer a high-speed crash when highly fancied in Rio and now pull out before Tokyo.
The former Leighland Christian School pupil, who has lived in Antwerp and Adelaide during that journey, described 2019 world championship success as her biggest achievement, coming just four months after the breakdown of a long-term relationship.
"Just because of how hard it was for me to get there," she said. "It was such a mentally draining year for me. But that was an eye-opener that I could achieve anything that I set my mind to no matter what the circumstances. I went through some dark days but never gave up. Maybe it's not the biggest result on paper, but it's the biggest for me.
"I'm upset that I never got to experience winning at an Olympics but cycling taught me so many valuable lessons. Missing out in London and the disappointment in Rio taught me patience, discipline, perseverance and resilience and those are things I will always be grateful for."
Cure thanked parents Graeme and Delwyn, coaches Matt Gilmore and Darryn Pugh, long-time teammate and occasional rival Nettie Edmondson, friend Josh Burk and her "Adelaide family" the Trengoves - siblings Jess, Abbie and Jack and their parents Deb and Colin.
"My parents have been so supportive of the decision. A certain part of me did feel I was letting them down because they had sacrificed so much for me but they were so understanding and my mum was a bit relieved because she knew how hard I'd been finding it, so the mother in her was very supportive of the decision.
"I have a picture of myself and Nettie at the last world champs in Berlin with Matt in the background and if that's the last picture of my career it's pretty special to me because they have been sharing the journey the most.
"It's been hard and emotional but now it's exciting looking ahead. I feel a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders so I know I've made the right decision."
Also a six-time auntie to sisters Sarah and Rebecca and brother Michael, Cure has been studying a diploma of business part-time online and is excited for the next chapter in her life although not sure what it will be or even in which state.
"I'm pretty settled in Adelaide at the moment," she said. "I have an amazing set-up with the Trengove family but I do want to move home."