McConville ends career due to back injury

Wed 13 Apr 2016

ORICA-AIS rider Chloe McConville has suffered a prolapsed disk forcing her to return to Australia for potential surgery, ultimately bowing out of the sport.

The 28-year-old signed a six month contract with the team for 2016, having set a date to finish her career on the 30th June. 

After a strong opening to the 2016 season, featuring in many of the Australian summer races, the Ladies Tour of Qatar and the European spring Classics, the rider from Victoria worked hard to be in great condition with determination to conclude her cycling career on a high.  

McConville is left feeling frustrated with the situation that forces her to hang up her wheels prematurely. 

"I had planned to retire at the end of June having raced oversees now for five years," explained McConville. "This has now come a lot sooner than planned, which is really disappointing and extremely frustrating, especially as I have done a heap of work to be going well for the Classics and I wanted to tick off some goals before I finish."

"That's what I was aiming for, to prove what I could do in the Classics. The girls have been racing amazingly so it would have been so good to be a part of that."

Due to line up with ORICA-AIS last weekend at the WorldTour race, Ronde van Vlaanderen, McConville travelled to Belgium earlier in the week to do recon of the course when the injury arose.

"I have been training at full capacity with no problems," McConville continued. "I just noticed a niggle in my back mainly when I was off the bike. I had a long trip over to Belgium ahead of the Tour of Flanders and we did recon of the cobble climbs. The next morning I woke up with unbelievable pain, I couldn't really walk and therefore wasn't able to start the race."

"It was very unexpected and whether it was the from the seated load going up the climbs, or from sitting down on the long trip over, I'm not sure. I thought it was something that would just settle down, but after an MRI scan I found out that I have a really badly prolapsed invertible disk the L5, S1. 

"This is giving a lot of nerve compresses, so I have lost a lot of reflexes in my left leg and lost a lot of power. It's unknown at the moment how long it will take me to recover and it could continue to be an issue for me. 

“I have a strong family history of back issues but you can do all the right things, do lots of core stability and I wasn't having any issues during training. It's just one of those things so it's pretty unlucky."

McConville has had a string of bad luck after being diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis and bilateral pulmonary embolisms in 2014. She worked relentlessly to overcome this set back, with confidence that she would return to full strength, and successfully began racing again at the end of the 2015 season in Australia after signing with ORICA-AIS. 

Having planned to retire half way through the season McConville was already preparing for life after cycling, but the turn of events means she has to speed up the process.

"I decided it was time to hang it up this year especially with it being an Olympic year," continued McConville. "I wasn't in contention on that course. I set a date, so I had time to prepare for it and really enjoy the remaining months with the team and tick off my goals, but now I won't have that opportunity to go out on my own terms." 

"Now it's time to start the next chapter. I'm happy I could at least have a good start to the 2016 season with the team, I was fit and healthy with no problems and I was able to race all the races that were planned. 

"I can only thank the team for giving me the opportunity to race for them and supporting me when I had injuries. They believed in me and helped me to return to racing for this season." 

ORICA-AIS wish Chloe the best of luck with her recovery and the next chapter in her life. We are grateful for her contributions to the team and the determination she has shown throughout her career.