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As a past winner of Milan-San Remo, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Santos Tour Down Under plus stages in the three Grand Tours, Simon Gerrans is one of Australia’s best-ever riders. On Tuesday he announced plans to retire from the sport, saying he will hang up his racing wheels at the end of the current season.
He has been with the BMC Racing Team in 2018 and recently helped the squad to team time trial success in the Tour de France. His personal results have been on the wane for the past couple of seasons, but his status as road captain was one that the team said was highly important to it.
In an open letter released by the BMC Racing Team, he admitted that his motivation is waning and that it is time for a new challenge.
“Cycling has been a huge part of my life for a long period of time and through which, I have met a lot of fantastic people, many of whom will remain life-long friends,” he wrote. “I am very proud of what I have achieved during my career and I would like to thank everyone who has played a part in my journey.
“Although I feel that I am still performing at a good level physically, my passion for the sport is not what it used to be. Professional cycling is too hard unless you are able to commit wholeheartedly. I am really happy to be able to walk away on my own terms and feel that the end of this season is the right time to transition to a new phase in my life.”
Gerrans thanked the various teams he has competed with during his long racing team, namely Ag2r Prevoyance, Crédit Agricole, the Cervélo Test Team, Team Sky, Orica-GreenEdge and the BMC Racing Team. “One of my goals was to make a positive impact in each team by contributing both on and off the bike, and I feel as though I achieved this,” he wrote.
“When I look back over my racing career, my fondest memories don’t come from winning Classics or Grand Tour stages, but the happiness and joy my victories created for the team and the people close to me. I also cherish the times when I was able to contribute to the personal success of my teammates.”
Gerrans said that he also took a lot of satisfaction out of getting things right, both in terms of his application and also his timing. Tactical astuteness was also something he looks back on with satisfaction, with many of his wins coming from using head as well as the legs.
“The process of meticulously preparing for my objectives and working hard in training is what I loved about being a professional cyclist,” he explained. “What made the biggest victories of my career the most rewarding was knowing that I perfected the preparation. During the best years of my racing career, those times when I got my preparation just right, I was competitive in the biggest races, against the best cyclists in the world.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the tactics of cycling; the times I was able to outsmart an opponent in a high pressure situation and beat someone stronger was satisfying. I also loved working within a team environment; the camaraderie amongst my teammates and team personnel was something I’ll never forget.”
Speaking about his future, he said that rather than considering his exit from racing as retirement, he said that he sees it as changing careers.
“In the short term, I plan on spending some time with my family. Family has always been the most important thing to me, but for the past 20 years, they have made great sacrifices and have been incredibly supportive of my career. I am now looking forward to giving my wife, Rahna, and our children, Oscar and Isla, my attention.
“Over the past couple of years I have received some really interesting career opportunities from within and outside the world of cycling. I hope to maintain an involvement with the sport in some capacity, however initially I am motivated to gain some experience and develop my skills in a new area. I hope that the skills and attributes I have developed and the networks I have built throughout my cycling career will provide a solid foundation to support this goal. The idea of getting out of my comfort zone and embracing a completely new career is daunting, yet excites me, and for these reasons I know it is the right thing to do.”
He ended the open letter by thanking “from the bottom of my heart all the supporters of cycling, sponsors, teams, teammates, friends and family that have made my time as a professional cyclist such an unforgettable chapter of my life.”
Gerrans’ career highlights:
33 individual wins, including:
2016: Santos Tour Down Under Stage 3, Stage 4, and General Classification.
2014: Gran Prix Cycliste de Quebec
2014: Gran Prix Cycliste de Montreal
2014: Santos Tour Down Under Stage 1 and General Classification.
2014: Australian road race champion
2013: Tour de France Stage 3
2012: Gran Prix Cycliste de Quebec
2012: Milan-San Remo
2012: Santos Tour Down Under General Classification
2012: Australian road race champion
2011 Tour of Denmark General Classification
2009 GP Ouest France-Plouay
2009: Vuelta a Espana Stage 10
2009: Giro d’Italia Stage 14
2008: Tour de France Stage 15
2006: Santos Tour Down Under Stage 2 and General Classification.