The 32-year-old Mayo rider wants to return to concentrating on road cycling and also to his business interests, and is giving up on previous plans to compete in the London Olympics.
“Track Cycling has been a huge part of my life for the past five years and has rewarded me with some great memories, be it Olympics, World Championships or gruelling training camps in some not so glamorous environments,” he said yesterday.
“It is not without some regret that I will not be able to finish my career on track at the London 2012 Olympics. This would have been a huge opportunity to bow out of the sport on a high, especially seeing as how the Olympics will never get any closer to home than this.”
Apart from that sixth place in the Manchester track worlds, he was also second and third in rounds of the UCI World Cup during the 2008-’09 season.
O’Loughlin is known to have been frustrated with some aspects of Cycling Ireland’s track programme. These related to the lack of a firm, ongoing commitment from some of the other athletes and also in the organisational side of things.
These played a part in his decision, but it is likely that another factor was the lack of progress the team pursuit riders were making as a unit.
Cycling Ireland recently took a decision to stop the elite men’s team pursuit programme for London 2012, although the women’s squad will continue for now. Martyn Irvine is also likely to get continued backing for the Omnium event.
Cycling Ireland’s Performance Director Phil Leigh said yesterday that O’Loughlin had played an important role. “David’s departure is a huge loss to the programme,” he said. “He has been here from the very start over five years ago.
“David has been the cornerstone of the track programme in Ireland for the whole of that time. He will be missed, it is hard to envisage a track team without David being part of it.”