Hoy To Retire

April 15, 2013 by  

Hoy To Retire, Since the London Olympics last August, and the magic moment on “Super Tuesday” when Sir Chris Hoy edged his front wheel in front of Germany’s Maximilian Levy to seal the sixth Olympic gold of his career the question has been asked – when would the Scot retire?

Now it appears that after 13 years at the highest level, Hoy will confirm his departure from cycling on Thursday.

The rider, who is now 37, will make “a major announcement” at Murrayfield stadium in his native Edinburgh at noon. Hoy has been a proud Scot all his career and it seems entirely typical of that he should choose to make his official farewell not far away from the mouldering old wooden Commonwealth Games stadium at Meadowbank, where he made his debut in track cycling in the early 1990s.

Since 7 August, when he won keirin gold in London and was saluted as he left the boards by a guard of honour consisting of all the Great Britain team staff, Hoy has officially been contemplating his future with a view to continuing as far as the Commonwealth Games next year in Glasgow, at the new velodrome which has been named after him. That decision, he said last November, would depend on whether he felt his body would hold out.

Senior figures within British Cycling have, however, felt recently that he would be hanging up his wheels some time this year. One indication that he would be quitting competition came in the last few weeks when his press officer Charlie Reid, who has run his media engagements since the Beijing Games, was quietly moved to other duties.

Hoy has also been dealing with his newly launched bike range, and motor racing. Nothing has pointed to a resumption of training. At the world championships in Minsk in February, it was clear that the British sprint staff were looking for a new rider to take over Hoy’s place in the team sprint.

It seems likely that Hoy has made the decision on two grounds: first, he is unlikely to make a better farewell than his spectacular gold medal in the keirin in London. If he were to continue to Glasgow next August, there would be a risk that a younger opponent might show him up. Given the reputation of the track head coach Shane Sutton for plain speaking, this may well have been put to him.

Also, in the runup to London, Hoy’s body was buckling. It was kept quiet – for obvious reasons – but the updated version of his autobiography published after the Games made it clear that he was carrying a back injury between the world championships in Melbourne in April, and the Olympics.

Between Beijing and London he also broke a rib while weight training, and had a big crash at the Copenhagen World Cup in February 2009 that injured his hip.

Hoy’s departure will mark the end of an era: he is one of the last members of the Olympic cycling team who competed in the distant era before lottery funding arrived in 1997 to transform the sport. He was one of a group of sprinters, together with Jason Queally and Craig Maclean, who were given funding soon after lottery cash arrived, and they broke through at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 with a silver medal in the team sprint to go with Queally’s gold in the kilometre time trial. Since then he has spearheaded the British squad’s rise to world domination.

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