New Year’s Eve marks the official retirement for a number of professional riders each year, and the class of those hanging up their wheels in 2018 features a handful who have featured heavily in recent editions of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour.

Here we take a look at those who’ll be departing the peloton and the impact they had on Britain’s most prestigious women’s cycle race.

Dani Rowe

Highlights: OVO Energy Women’s Tour 2018, Stage Two – Rushden to Daventry

Factfile

Nationality: Great British

Age: 28

2018 team: WaowDeals Pro Cycling

Career highlights: Olympic gold medallist, team pursuit, 2012; UCI Track World Championships gold medallist, team pursuit, 2011, 2012, 2013

Women’s Tour record

Excluding the race’s inaugural edition in 2014, Rowe’s performances in the OVO Energy Women’s Tour improved yearly, culminating in her finishing third overall in the 2018 edition. The British rider, who has finished all five editions of the race to date, progressed from 49th overall in 2015, 11th in 2016 and ninth in 2017 (after finishing in the top 20 on every stage) to the podium in June. Her best stage finish was fourth on Stage Two of the 2018 race into Daventry; she also won the Adnams Best British Rider jersey in this year’s Tour.

The British rider attacking during the final kilometres of Stage Two of the 2014 race into Bedford.

Giorgia Bronzini

Bronzini (centre) finished the 2018 OVO Energy Women’s Tour the same way as the inaugural 2014 edition: placing second on the stage in a sprint finish.

Factfile

Nationality: Italian

Age: 35

2018 team: Cylance Pro Cycling

Career highlights: UCI World Champion (road race), 2010 and 2011; eight-time Giro d’Italia stage winner

Women’s Tour record

Bronzini finished in the top 10 in 16 OVO Energy Women’s Tour stages between 2014 and 2018 but never claimed a victory. Her best results were second in Welwyn Garden City, Bury St Edmunds (2014); Royal Leamington Spa and Colwyn Bay (2018).

The Italian sprinter, who won the Road World Championships in Geelong in 2010 and Copenhagen in 2011, is one of eight women who have ridden all five editions of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour to date.

Bronzini was the only rider who could follow 2014 champion-elect Marianne Vos in the bunch sprint in Welwyn Garden City on the penultimate day of our inaugural edition – the first of her second-placed finishes.

Lauren Hall

Hall on the attack – notably accompanied by 2015 champion Lisa Brennauer (in black – during the final stage of the 2014 race.

Factfile

Nationality: American

Age: 39

2018 team: UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Women’s Team

Career highlights: Gent Wevelgem winner, 2014

Women’s Tour record

Not to be confused with her 2018 team-mate Katie Hall, who won our Queen of the Mountains jersey in 2016, Lauren competed in the 2014 and 2015 editions of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour. The former race went the better for the American rider; she placed ninth overall, 52 seconds behind winner Marianne Vos, and finished sixth on Stage Four into Welwyn Garden City.

Palona Batagelj

Batagelj (second from right) and her BTC team-mates take a selfie prior to Stage One of the 2018 OVO Energy Women’s Tour in Framlingham.

Factfile

Nationality: Slovenian

Age: 29

2018 team: BTC City Ljubljana

Career highlights: National Champion (road race), 2010-2018

Women’s Tour record

The second youngest of our notable retirees in 2018, Batagelj only made her OVO Energy Women’s Tour debut in June as part of the combative BTC City Ljubljana team. She finished 22nd overall, with her best stage result (23rd) coming in arguably 2018’s toughest stage – the Northamptonshire leg from Rushden to Daventry that featured two ascents of Newnham Hill in its closing kilometres.

Martina Ritter

Martina Ritter won the combativity prize for Stage Three of the 2017 OVO Energy Women’s Tour.

Factfile

Nationality: Austrian

Age: 36

2018 team: Wiggle HIGH5

Career highlights: National Champion (road race), 2015, 2017; (time trial) 2015, 2017, 2018

Women’s Tour record

Austrian Ritter completed the one edition of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour she started, finishing 39th overall in the 2017 edition while riding for the popular Drops Cycling Team. She won the combativity award for Stage Three in Warwickshire after featuring in a late breakaway move alongside Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Cervélo-Bigla), Gracie Elvin (Orica-AIS), Shara Gillow (FDJ) and Malgorzata Jasinska (Cylance Pro Cycling). Ritter was the last rider to finish within 10 minute of that year’s champion, the dominant Kasia Niewiadoma.

Rushlee Buchanan

Factfile

Nationality: New Zealand

Age: 30

2018 team: UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Women’s Team

Career highlights: National Champion (road race), 2010, 2014, 2016, 2017; (time trial) 2016

Women’s Tour record

Buchanan’s participation in the 2015 Women’s Tour was the second and last time she competed on these shores on the road (the first being the Commonwealth Games road race in Glasgow the previous year in which she finished 14th). The Kiwi placed 54th in our race, 1’59” behind race winner Lisa Brennauer, but helped her then team-mate Hannah Barnes win the final stage in Hemel Hempstead. A noted track rider, Buchanan is a bronze medalist in the team pursuit discipline at the UCI Track World Championships.