Robbie McEwen Video Interview: What retirement means to me
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Friday, April 27, 2012

Robbie McEwen Video Interview: What retirement means to me

by Shane Stokes at 9:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Video
Frank thoughts on the end of a career

Robbie McEwenIt’s been a long, very successful career which has earned him some of the top prizes in the sport such as three Tour de France green jerseys, plus a dozen stages in both the Giro and the Tour.

However, despite the massive change it will make to his life to stop, Robbie McEwen has said that he’s convinced that it’s the right time for him to go. The current Presidential Tour of Turkey and the upcoming Tour of California are the only races left ahead of him.

No regrets, no second thoughts. McEwen admits that calling it quits will be peculiar at first, but he feels the push towards a new role is greater than the pull of his past life.

“I think it is the right time. It is something I thought long and hard about,” he told VeloNation in a very frank video interview conducted at the Turkish race this week. “I have had a very long career, [and] you can only be at the top for a certain amount of time.

“I found a role in a team that excites me to be involved with, an Aussie team, and to share my experiences with younger guys. It is time to stop racing. But I think in your heart you always stay a racer.”

McEwen turned professional back in 1996 with the Rabobank team and soon showed his speed, winning stages of the Vuelta a Murcia and Regio Tour in his opening season. But the first big result came in 1999 when he won the most prestigious stage of all for a sprinter, the Champs Elysees conclusion of the Tour de France.

Over the next eight years he was one of the most feared gallopers in cycling, clocking up those Grand Tour stage wins and netting Maillot Vert jerseys in 2002, 2004 and 2006. McEwen also won many other races including five editions (four of them consecutive) in Paris-Brussels.

He became known as a very versatile sprinter, able to triumph without the dedicated sprint trains of some of his rivals, and being particularly good on technical, explosive gallops with corners close to the line.

Less a drag racing, big gear masher like Cipollini, McEwen’s strength was his jump plus his agility. He also had a very good analysis of that facet of the sport, being able to remember precise details of previous sprints and to think quickly in the heat of battle.

However a bad crash in the 2009 Tour of Belgium prevented him from taking part in that year’s Tour de France and, while he picked up several wins in the years since, he didn’t challenge at the same level in the Grand Tours.

If Hollywood was writing the script of his career, he’d pick up one more big win in the Tour of California, sealing his career with that success. However he’s not sure if he’ll have the opportunity to try; his main focus is to help steer the young sprinters on the GreenEdge team, and that will take predominance.

“It would be nice to do a sprint in downtown LA on the last day, but it is a very, very hard Tour too. I have to make sure I get there first,” he admitted. “Also, in California I will be working with another one of our young sprinters, Leigh Howard. We will see how it pans out towards the end.

“I am not approaching the races as such with a personal ambition, but more the ambition of the team. But if they need me to do a sprint, then I’m there…”

Click on the image below to watch McEwen’s full interview, where he speaks openly about his thoughts on ending his career, his new role with the GreenEdge team and more. He also reveals what he’ll be able to do for the first time ever once he’s no longer bound by clauses in his contract.


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