Alex Peters is enjoying cycling again, returning to Tour of Britain after mental health break

The 27-year-old Brit left Team Sky back in 2016, but has rejoined he peloton with Continental squad SwiftCarbon

Alex Peters (second from left) at the 2021 Tour of Britain
(Image credit: Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Alex Peters has re-found his love of cycling, as he returned to the Tour of Britain after an extended break due to his mental health.

Peters, 27, from Hackney in London, previously reached the top of the sport with Team Sky back in 2016, but decided to leave the British WorldTour squad after just one season due to personal issues. 

After three years away from racing Peters returned to the peloton last season, signing with Canyon-dHb and then making the switch to another British Continental squad, SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling, for 2021. 

Taking the next step in his racing return, Peters made selection for the Tour of Britain, the biggest race on the calendar for domestic squads, where he was a stand-out rider. 

Speaking before stage four of the race, Peters said: “I really didn’t think I would be back in the sport at all, because I was in quite a bad place and I’m happy I’m out of it. 

“I’m quite a shy guy I would say. So having a team that has the capacity to handle me, or someone like me, is really good.” 

Announcing his signing with Canyon back in 2019, Peters says anxiety and depression were the driving factors behind his decision to leave pro cycling, saying he spent a lot of time doubting himself and his performance.

Peters said: “I had a mental breakdown. Four years it took to recover from that, get integrated back into society, and one way of doing that is through cycling. 

“I think it’s quite a healthy thing for me, enjoy the sport again.

“I didn’t ride at all, I was completely just in my house or in hospital I didn’t ride for a good two years, and then I realised exercise is quite a good way of feeling good.” 

Peters has already impressed on his return to the bunch, winning the Ryedale Grand Prix last month and thriving in the Tour of Britain, finishing third on stage two into Exeter.

When asked if he can continue to rise through the cycling ranks, Peters said: “Yeah I think I can go further.

“If I enjoy it and have fun, and have gentle encouragement from the right support, then I think I can make it.” 

“[For me] it’s more about happiness, and I think results come from that, because I do like to be at the sharp end of racing, so that makes me happy, and having great team-mates as well.” 

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Peters went on to finish 21st overall in the Tour of Britain, almost four minutes down on the winner Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), but was the third best finisher from the Continental ranks, just behind WorldTour talents like Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) and Simon Clarke (Qhubeka-NextHash).