Cycling: Lack of enjoyment leads to retirement for Jesse Sergent

Jesse Sergent with his 2012 Olympic bronze medal. Photo / Getty
Jesse Sergent with his 2012 Olympic bronze medal. Photo / Getty

Double Olympic medallist Jesse Sergent says a lack of enjoyment was behind his sudden retirement from cycling.

The former track cyclist spent five seasons as a road professional, riding in three grand tours and claiming a podium finish in a stage of the Giro d'Italia.

In the prime of his career at age 28, Sergent could have had realistic aspirations of riding in a Tour de France but explains that his passion for the sport had waned.

"My decision was pretty simple really; I just stopped enjoying the racing, the training, the lifestyle. Over time it just got more and more and slowly ate away at me," Sergent told Radio Sport.

Having spent half his life within the cycling community, Sergent said the time came when he realised his motivation and competitive fire had disappeared.

"To get paid to ride a bike for five-and-a-half years as a professional, I was living the dream. But when you do something for a long amount of time it changes.

"It's done and I can get out with no regrets. I can get out on my own [terms], I'm not getting kicked out of the sport. It's not the sport, it's me. I just don't want to do it any more."

Sergent spent three months sidelined last year due to a serious crash in the Tour of Flanders in April, when he needed three operations to mend a broken collarbone after being hit by a neutral service car.

While the setback was part of a year which saw him move from his Trek-Segafredo side and join French team AG2R-La Mondiale, Sergent says the crash had no bearing on his decision to call time on his career.

"It was a crash and you have a lot of crashes. If anything, it gave me three months away from cycling at home in the middle of the season. It gave me a little bit of time to see what it's like not riding a bike and not having the stress of that. But it's definitely not the reason I made the decision."

Sergent missed out on this year's Tour de France with AG2R-La Mondiale, but is grateful to the team for letting him amicably part ways.

"They were very understanding and I'm thankful, really, they could have made my life really hard but we ended it on good terms."

While Sergent's immediate plans are to hang out with friends and family at home, he hasn't ruled out a return to the track where he claimed medals at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and world championships.

"The track is really something I enjoyed. If the fun side of doing it was still there, then you never know."

- NZ Herald

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