Former Pacific Centre Cyclist and Canadian Junior Champion Annie Ewart is retiring due to health issues. In August during a training ride for her US-based UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Women’s Team, her heart rate “just took off” and she was diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia (240bpm), commonly known as irregular heartbeat.
“I would not be the same athlete if I continued to race,” Ewart told Pedal Magazine. “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.”
“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.“
“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!”
Victoria native Ewart, now 23-years-old, developed her skill and fitness as a young development cyclist in her junior years under Head Coach Houshang Amiri at Pacific Cycling Centre, juggling her school work with her passion for cycling.
She achieved podium success as a junior winning the time trial and the road race in the 2011 Canadian National Championships. That year she also placed seventh in the Time Trial at the World Championships in Copenhagen. She is also a five-time BC Provincial Champion. In 2011 she made the Cycling Canada Track time standards and also the world track team. Choosing to pursue a career as a professional road cyclist, in 2012 she turned pro joining Optum Pro Cycling.
In 2013, Ewart came 4th at the Pan Am Games ITT and in 2014 she competed at the UCI Road Worlds TTT where her team finished 4th. She had a breakaway victory on stage two of the Tour of the Gila in 2015 and had a win that year at the Dominguez Hills Criterium. She was also part of a six-woman team that won the USPRO Team Time Trial National Championship.
In 2016 she joined UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling. Her former coach Amiri, said at the time:”The main key factor in Annie’s success is her work ethic, commitment to excellence, self-management, being positive about the future and a belief in herself,” said Amiri. “Annie has achieved a lot at a young age and she has a bright future in front of her.”
In 2016, Ewart was on the podium again with her team that finished third in the TTT on Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California. She was also an Olympic Torch bearer on her bike for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.