Aussie sprint star retires

2012-05-21 08:30
Robbie McEwen (File)
Los Angeles - Australian cycling star Robbie McEwen retired on Sunday after the final stage of the Tour of California, concluding a 17-year professional career saw him capture 12 Tour de France stage victories.

The 39-year-old from Brisbane was among the world's greatest sprinters at the peak of his career, which also saw him win 12 stages of both the Giro d'Italia and his homeland's Tour Down Under.

"It's a little bit surreal," McEwen said as the notion of retiring hit him a few minutes after climbing off the bicycle competitively for the last time.

"Crossing the line I felt like, 'Oooh finished.' I'm still going. I just want to go back to the hotel, have a shower, sit down, have a cold beer and think, 'All right.'

"Maybe (it will hit me) when I don't have to pack a suitcase for the next race... that's something I'm honestly looking forward to. I've had a great career."

McEwen thanked fans, rivals, team-mates and even bitter enemies - "Thank them all. I've had a fantastic run. I've enjoyed it all, the pain and suffering too."

"It started as my hobby, turned into my profession," McEwen said. "It's the biggest scam going, getting paid to ride our bicycles. It's what we love to do. It doesn't get much better."

McEwen's 2009 season came to an early end with a broken leg after an accident on the second stage of the Tour of Belgium, a spill he recovered from to reclaim a spot among the world's top-class riders.

"Apart from the winning, it's (most enjoyable) coming through the hard times, the really tough times when you've had a bad injury," McEwen said.

"You come through it and you rejoin the peloton, you find a good level again and the dream continues. It's not a moment but it's part of the whole cycle. It's part of the lifestyle. It's a passion.

"When you feel that's going to be ripped away from you and you win again, that is something special."

Among his favourite memories was the 2007 Tour de France opening stage to Canterbury when he crashed with 20 kilometers remaining but recovered to win the stage with a remarkable sprint to the finish line.

Read more on:    tour of california  |  cycling

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Besides the 'Big 3' of rugby, cricket and soccer, which of the 'smaller' sports in South Africa do you enjoy the most?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.