October 20, 2016 (Victoria, BC) – Canada’s Annie Ewart, who rides for US-based UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Women’s Team, has decided to hang up her bike due to health issues that we first reported on in August. At that time, during a training ride in Colorado her “heart rate just took off” and she was later diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia (240bpm), commonly referred to as irregular heartbeat.
(l-r) Alison Tetrick (USA) Cylance Pro Cycling, Annie Ewart (Can) UnitedHealthCare), Leah Kirchmann (Can) Liv - Plantur at the Ladies Tour of Qatar © Cor Vos
“I would not be the same athlete if I continued to race,” Ewart told Pedal
, confirming that she was hanging up her bike. “And I don’t want to risk my health.”
She previously posted on Facebook. “After thinking I was on the road to recovery with my heart, it decided to change its course. My VTAC returned during my recovery at home, and it was back to the hospital to figure out what was going on.”
Annie Ewart © Pasquale Stalteri
“After a few days of multiple discussions with the cardiologists, it was deemed necessary that I needed an ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator) implanted for my own safety. Not exactly something you want to hear at 23 years old, but Hell give me that thing so I can go on and live a normal life (new normal) without the constant worry in the back of my mind of wondering if my heart will take off into an unbelievable rhythm, and questioning if I will be stable this time. “
Ewart at the hospital © courtesy of Annie Ewart
“I will deal with the lump on my chest and the new scar that comes with it (just add it to the collection!). I am now 1 month stable (thank God for good medicine). I finally feel like I have my life back and a sense of being “normal”. I can’t or won’t even begin to describe the sense of relief and gratitude I have.”
Gillow Shara (Aus) Rabobank Liv and Ewart Annie (Can) UnitedHealthCare © Cor Vos
“Unfortunately, my cycling career as an athlete has come to an end, but I hope to remain involved in the sport that I love and has given me so much in life. It’s time to head down a new road, and one that I am excited to explore!”
U23 Women's ITT podium (l-r) Allison Beveridge, Annie Ewart, Alizee Brien © Audrey Lemieux
The 23-year-old all-rounder from Victoria BC notably distinguished herself winning both the U23 Women’s ITT and road race at the 2011 Road Nationals. In 2012 she was 2nd in the U23 Women’s TT at nationals, 3rd in the road race, and was 2nd overall in the Criterium winning U23 women’s crown. In 2013, Ewart was just off the podium in 4th at the Pan Am Games ITT. She competed at the 2014 UCI Road Worlds TTT where her team finished 4th.
Annie Ewart (Can) wins Stage 2 at the Tour of the Gila © Optum Pro Cycling
Ewart won stage 2 of the 2015 Tour of the Gila and that same year, she was part of a 6-woman team of Amy Charity, Annie Ewart, Jasmin Glaesser, Leah Kirchmann, Alison Tetrick, and Brianna Walle that won the USPRO Team Time Trial National Championship.
Optum Women's TTT squad wins at US Nationals © Optum
In 2016, she was on the podium again as part of the Unitedhealthcare TTT women’s squad that finished 3rd on Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California. Ewart was also an Olympic Torch bearer on her bike for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Ewart and Unitedhealthcare Women's TTT squad © Andrew Rogers
Ewart hospitalized here
Ewart’s blog here
Pedal joins the cycling community in wishing Ewart the best with her future endeavours