TWO-TIME world champion and double Olympic silver medal-winning cyclist Becky James has retired at the age of 25.

James, from Abergavenny, won world sprint and keirin titles in 2013 before taking two silvers in the same events at last year’s Olympic Games in Rio.

“Over the past year, I have had time to think about my future and have decided to retire from international track sprint racing,” she said in a statement.

“After 13 years of racing my track bike, it is time to start an exciting new chapter in my life.

“I have given cycling 100% and know how much commitment it takes to make it to the highest level in elite sport.

“The pressure of competing at the top can be mentally and physically draining, but the rewards have been incredible and I have absolutely no regrets!

“I have achieved my dreams of becoming a world champion, a Commonwealth medalist for Wales and becoming a double Olympic silver medalist.

“I now want to enjoy my life without the strict training regime, while at the same time continuing to lead a healthy lifestyle both in body and mind.

“For a long time I’ve had a passion for baking and have loved making special wedding and birthday cakes for friends and family.

“I’ve had great feedback from those who’ve enjoyed my cakes or seen my Instagram and it’s my intention to now pursue this passion as a business, along with some exciting other projects going forward.

“I would like to thank everyone who has been part of my journey from the beginning.

“My family, friends, coaches, Abergavenny Road Club, Welsh Cycling, British Cycling, Team GB and my incredible sponsors who all stuck with me and supported me through the highs and the lows of elite sport.

“Cycling has always been the main focus of my life and will continue to be a big part of it.

“I will still be an active member of Abergavenny Road Club and I will look to pass some of the knowledge I have acquired over the years to help young riders achieve their dreams.”

James was talent spotted by Welsh Cycling during a Go-Ride session at Abergavenny Road Club and became part of the British Cycling Junior Academy programme aged 15.

She won gold in the keirin and sprint at the UCI Junior World Championships in Moscow in 2009 and then silver and bronze in the sprint and 500m time trial at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi 2010, as well as three under-23 European Championship medals in Saint Petersburg.

Having missed out on selection for London 2012, James, at the age of 21, won four medals in all, including two gold, at the 2013 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Minsk.

A long period out through injury and illness followed but James fought hard to come back in time for the 2016 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, winning a bronze.

She then starred for Team GB in Rio last summer with a double silver to add to her collection of major medals.

Iain Dyer, head coach for the Great Britain Cycling Team, said: “It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Becky over the years, both in my current role as head coach and my previous role as sprint coach during which I worked closely with Becky.

“To see first-hand how she battled back from injury and illness to claim the silver medal in the sprint and keirin in Rio 2016 was inspiring to see and I count it as one of my career highlights.

“Her coaches, support team and I have all enjoyed working with Becky, both as an athlete and as a person, and she will be missed.

“On behalf of the team, I’d like to congratulate Becky on her career which she can look back on with pride, and wish her all the best with her future career off the bike.”

Jonathan Browning, chairman of British Cycling, added: “Becky’s journey to achieve her dream of becoming an Olympic medallist was by no means a straight forward one, and her attitude and tenacity is a great example for all of us.

“I’d like to thank Becky for inspiring so many women, especially in Wales, to start cycling both through her achievements on the bike and also during her time as an ambassador for Breeze – British Cycling’s recreational cycling programme for women.

“As one of Britain’s most successful female track sprinters, Becky can enjoy her retirement and the team at British Cycling are ready to support her transition as she embarks on new exciting ventures.

“Becky will always be welcome at British Cycling.”