Callum Skinner: Olympic champion announces retirement from cycling

Callum Skinner with a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics
Callum Skinner won a gold and silver medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016

Great Britain Olympic champion Callum Skinner has retired from elite cycling.

The 26-year-old says he has quit the track to focus on improving rights and working conditions for athletes.

Skinner won team sprint gold and sprint silver at the Rio Games in 2016.

"Cycling is my first love and it was the ideal place with the perfect opportunities to focus my drive to achieve great things," he said. "Now, I'm looking for a new challenge, my next Olympics."

Skinner also represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games last year, winning bronze in the 1km time trial at Australia's Gold Coast.

He initially said he was still targeting Tokyo 2020 after taking some time out from the sport last summer but has now stepped away from the track for good.

Last month it was announced that Skinner is to lead Global Athlete, a new organisation set up to push for enhanced rights for athletes.

"I appreciate that 26 might seem to many quite young to be transitioning away from the track, but I have never considered myself just an athlete; I consider myself far more than that," he added.

"My focus and effort now lies in working in partnership with British Cycling to continue to make the athlete experience more human while still maintaining that performance mindset."

British Cycling's chief executive, Julie Harrington, said: "Callum has done both Scotland and Great Britain proud during his cycling career, winning medals on the global stage and playing his part in inspiring more people to take up cycling.

"For me, though, what is just as remarkable is what Callum has been able to achieve off the bike. In my time at British Cycling, he has developed into an articulate and passionate spokesman - whether as an LGBT ally, an advocate for better athlete representation, working with UK Anti-Doping or just asking for improved conditions on the roads for people on bikes."

Last year British Cycling said it would make changes to be more caring to riders following a damning 2017 report into allegations of bullying and a "culture of fear" that put the pursuit of medals above the welfare of athletes.