Annika Langvad Announces Immediate Retirement from Professional XC Racing

Oct 9, 2020
by Sarah Moore  


Annika Langvad announced today that she is retiring from elite racing. She was going to finish her decade-long career with the World Championships, but a stomach bug has her sitting out the event and announcing her immediate retirement.

The 36-year-old Danish woman competed in her first XC World Cup ten years ago in England, where she finished 22nd. The following year, at the same venue, she finished second. From then, she's been a force on the international scene. Among her many accolades, Langvad is the 2016 XC World Champion, five-time Marathon XC World Champion, five-time winner of the Absa Cape Epic, 2015 Leadville 100 winner, and an Olympian. She finished second overall in the UCI World Rankings in 2016 and has over a dozen World Cup XC and Short Track podiums, including several wins. She's also seen success on the road with the Boels-Dolmans team and tried her hand at cyclocross, all while studying to become a dentist.


bigquotesSo, here’s a big announcement: I’m retiring from professional racing. Now is the time. These 10 years of racing will probably be some of the most intense time of my entire life and now I’m ready to devote myself to other things in life.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what reflections to share with you, since it’s been quite a rollercoaster of emotions leading up to this point. This is not a decision made overnight, it has been at the back of my mind for a long time - first time was in 2016, where I went to finish dentistry school after the season. But when you are on a high and you are wearing the rainbow jersey it’s just so easy to continue one more year. And thanks to @iamspecialized there were always new adventures that made every next season too tempting to resist. The support and opportunities from @iamspecialized is and always will be the absolute center of my career and something I forever will be grateful for. I grabbed a lot of those opportunities and managed to turn some of them into experiences and accomplishments that I didn’t even dare dreaming of, while other opportunies made me face some of my inner deamons.

Also, I will forever be grateful for having @bonnethomas by my side through it all. You are my rock and none of this would have been possible without you. In the end - I wouldn’t want to be without any of those adventures at all (good or bad) or any of the special people I’ve met along the way. Not a single one. It all contributed to who and where I am today.

But now it’s time. I’m feeling satisfied and content and okay with things as they are. I’ve played my role. I’m ready to move on.

This weekend was supposed to be my last World Champs. Sadly, I’ve been struggling with a stomach bug since Nove Mesto, which has left me drained and not able to be on the start line. I wish my teammates and all riders a fantastic race.
Annika Langvad


Despite being a fierce competitor and always a threat for the podium, her teammates and competitors are sad to see her go.

bigquotesOuah... what I can say... you have been one of my favorite rider and I will be always proud to ride against you !
All the best for your futur! Be happy and healthy ! And MERCI !
Pauline Ferrand Prevot

bigquotesCongratulations on an amazing career @annika.langvad. We had some fun together. We will have those memories forever.Lea Davison

bigquotesIt has been a pleasure racing with you. Thanks for bringing our sport to a higher level.Catharine Pendrel

bigquotesGoosebumps Annika - you will be so missed! All the best for your next adventures and hopefully we will still see you around sometimes!Anne Terpstra

bigquotesCongratulations @annika.langvad on an incredible career! It was an honor to be your teammate and get to learn from a true champion on and off the bike. Wising you all the best in your next chapter!Kate Courtney


Annika Langvad took the win with a huge margin. She seemed to struggle on the XCO course though so let s see whay Sunday s race will bring.
Winning the World Cup Short Track in La Bresse in 2018.

Annika Langvad takes another win.
Winning the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup Short Trackin 2018.

Annika Langvad celebrate the win at UCI XCO World Cup in Nove Mesto Czech Republic on May 20th 2017 Bartek Wolinski Red Bull Content Pool P-20170521-00248 Usage for editorial use only Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information.
Winning the 2017 World Cup in Nove Mesto.

Annika Langvad is your 2016 XCO World Champion.
Winning the World Championships in 2016 in Nove Mesto.

Champagne showers for Gunn-Rita. Annika Langvad and Catharine Pendrel take aim.
Second at the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup in 2016.



We'll miss seeing Langvad amongst the action in cross-country races, but we wish her the best of luck with the next chapter.


75 Comments

  • 234 17
 Now that she has time to be a dentist maybe she can afford a decent bike!
  • 61 1
 Yeti is seeing dollar signs
  • 6 41
flag Ds1234 (Oct 9, 2020 at 9:22) (Below Threshold)
 context?
  • 78 4
 @Ds1234: You're new here, right?
  • 2 49
flag Ds1234 (Oct 9, 2020 at 9:33) (Below Threshold)
 @ReformedRoadie: thanks for the sarcasm
  • 6 0
 A bike ride a day keeps the dentist away Wink
  • 6 0
 @Ds1234: Mentions in the post that while she was racing, she was also studying to be a dentist.
  • 48 1
 @Ds1234: gnarcouch.com/2019/12/29/dentist-vows-to-ride-mountain-bike-more-than-one-season

However, he plans to wait to purchase a new bike, a bold move for a dentist.

Bicycle industry research shows that dentists are the group of people most likely to buy a high-dollar bike at the beginning of each season. In particular, they are fond of carbon 29-inch trail bikes, according to the most recent data.

“Waiting was a tough decision,” said Trevor. “I know I’ll be missing out on some great Strava times without the upgrade, but I can take comfort in the fact that I’m buying a new pair of DPS Lotus Alchemist skis.”

While the Thursday night group now has a leg up on Trevor, he says he’ll be unstoppable during his five visits to Alta.
  • 6 0
 @SoDiezl350: AH HA HA HA HA Haaa.... ^This, and all of this!!!
  • 9 2
 @SoDiezl350:
As a dentist, I *fully* endorse this article.

And I ride a 5 year old 27.5/160mm frame I bought NOS two seasons ago, built out of the parts bin. Best part? It’s not a yeti.
  • 12 1
 @recon311: dentist homeboys must be giving you a hard time down at the country club Wink
  • 4 20
flag Ds1234 (Oct 9, 2020 at 12:59) (Below Threshold)
 @SoDiezl350: the saltiness of this "community" lol
  • 5 5
 Hope you guys all brush your teeth well and take necessary vitamins for oral health, to keep your choppers strong and healthy. The irony of walking into the Dentist office and the Dentist closes the door as your laying back in his chair; when suddenly, a Yeti is spotted leaning against the wall across the room and the Dentist notice's your appearance of being a mtn biker, thus leading Him to ask, How you like or own any Yeti bikes. BAAAAHAhAhAhAhA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 51 0
 I'm not a race enthusiast but have incredible respect for the drive and skills (neither of which do I possess) needed to excel over a decade of multiple disciplines. And no matter who we are, the decisions to close chapters on our lives can be difficult, cathartic, joyous, but life-changing. Here's wishing Ms. Langvad all the best in her new career and in staying well.
  • 35 0
 "But now it’s time. I’m feeling satisfied and content and okay with things as they are. I’ve played my role. I’m ready to move on."

This is some good perspective. Godspeed.
  • 22 0
 Agreed - I'd like to send this perspective to some of our long serving senators and congress people in the US. "Hey, I've done what I could and always my best, I'm at the top of my game, it's time to pursue other interests in life and hand over the space".
  • 2 0
 @ellstruth: Cincinnatus agrees
  • 23 0
 Cape Epic, XCM, XCO, XCST all conquered - a true legend! Chapeau indeed!
  • 16 0
 At her peak, arguably the highest threshold power to weight ratio - and perhaps even the best threshold power in absolute terms - for any female MTB pro ever.
  • 1 0
 @Ginsu2000: Gunn Rita Dahle comes to mind as a very dominant rider.
  • 1 0
 @Tjomball: Gunn-Rita's career palmares is unmatched. To me that's not really even up for debate. However, I stand by by earlier statement about Annika's power, and power to weight.
  • 13 0
 Sad that she has to duck out on such an anti-climactic note with the stomach bug. Reminds me of COVID cutting short Vince Carter's retirement season in march.
  • 13 0
 Bravo on a great career
  • 9 0
 That's amazing yet indicative of the reality of the sport that someone like this can be an elite athlete while at the same time holding down a career that has nothing to do with the sport.
  • 5 0
 My experience with some elite or high-performance athletes (a group to which I certainly do not belong) is their type-A personalities and extreme attention to time management and organization.
  • 8 0
 Annika is pure class, we do not yet realise her legacy. IMHO women’s Xc is the best MTB racing to watch currently. All the best for the next stage of your career.
  • 3 0
 Sad to see her go. When she raced the road classics with Boels a couple years ago, she was an absolute beast; may not have been on the top step, but was no doubt the strongest rider in the race, who just had some inexperience to blame on the winning move.

Jumping back and forth to MTB with the high intensity was probably hard on her, especially as age creeps up on us all, and there's other things in life...her career, new husband, etc.

Wish her well in the future.
  • 3 0
 As if this year didn't suck enough already. Such a class act and intelligent. Wise mentor to many young riders including KC. A true Valkyrie on two wheels. I'm going to miss her.
  • 4 0
 I hope she does at least one more Cape Epic. The one with Jenny Rissveds that got cancelled earlier this year.
  • 3 0
 @sarahmoore Annika would make for some great guest content or contribution. She’s intelligent, well-spoken and sneaky funny.
  • 2 0
 Takk for en fantastisk karriere.
Du har vært en inspirasjon for mange syklister.
Både menn og kvinner. Unge som gamle.
Alt det beste til deg når du nå begynner ditt nye liv.
Til lykke med dagen Annika.
  • 4 0
 Anika you're such a champion!! It's a sad day for xc MTB
  • 2 0
 All the best Ms. Langvad! What a force you've been on the race circuit, thank you for the years of laying it all on the line.
  • 2 0
 Annika was a beast for years and there was a period where no one could touch her. So strong and powerful. Good luck lady and hold your head high -
  • 3 0
 World champion and dentist lmao an athlete that wont end up with an under payed media job but will be making 300k a year gg
  • 5 0
 Don't forget those who became drug mules. That's sad.
  • 2 1
 @iamamodel: the journey from the trybe to the cartel
  • 9 0
 Retiring from racing to a well paying profession means that she won't likely be reduced to being a shill for e-bikes, unlike a number of other athletes. Congrats on a great biking career!
  • 2 1
 More like 450-600k
  • 1 0
 @iamamodel: i think she's lost her Piranha.
  • 1 0
 All the best on your new journey and a big congratulations on your career achievements. It was a pleasure to watch you ride. I wish you happy trails off the race track in the time to come.
  • 3 0
 Hey Yeti, Specialized is into dentist bikes nowadays.
  • 4 0
 Nooooooo!
  • 1 0
 So... am I wrong to suspect she may be with child? For such an amazing athlete to throw it in without notice I would think that a stomach bug wouldn't be the cause.
  • 1 0
 The past couple of years of competition on the circuit haven't been kind to her. Not saying you are incorrect but this goes back much farther than a couple of months.
  • 2 0
 Bravo on an incredible career, Annika! Cheers from a fellow Dane Smile
  • 1 0
 Not surprising after the last two seasons. Always hoped that she would get a bit of that previous form back.
  • 2 0
 Godspeed to an all-time favorite.
  • 2 0
 Congrats, Annika. Now it's on to drill, fill, and bill, baby!
  • 2 0
 This is a huge loss to the sport.
  • 3 1
 Chapeau!
  • 1 0
 best of luck, good new is riding doesn't stop when racing does.
  • 1 1
 What a rager. Congrats on an awesome jourmey and the start of a new one! All the best! *a million fist pounds*
  • 2 3
 Moving on to be an ultra babe dentist from ultra babe bike racer. Great run though, 10 years of punishment has got to be a hard thing to do.
  • 1 1
 Just watching those dentist scenes brought back the smell and taste of those tools in my mouth. -insert throw-up emoji-
  • 2 5
 Okay, my son in law is a dentist and studying orthodonty, he rides an Esker, my buddies brother is a dentist and he rides an Evil, my dentist doesn’t ride a bike he runs ultras.

Where are all these Yeti riding dentists?
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