Premier Calendar winner Chris Newton is set to retire from professional cycling and take on the role of GB Academy Endurance coach next month.
A silver and two-time bronze medallist at the Olympics, Newton told Cycling Weekly that his decision was heavily influenced by the recent changes in Olympic track programme.
“I never woke up and just thought ‘I’m stopping’. I’m going to change my emphasis, it’s been coming for a while,” the Rapha-Condor-Sharp man said.
“As soon as I heard about the points race being taken from the Olympics, I sat down and thought about the plan for the next few years. I thought about giving the omnium a shot and trained for that, but it favoured other riders.”
“I’m quite realistic. When I get two years down the line, I’d probably not get the Olympic place for the omnium: it’s going to be the fifth team pursuit rider that does.”
He continued: “Selfishly, I had to look for my future as well and I felt that I got nearly everything I wanted out of racing, and the goals are getting smaller. As I’ve raced through this year and people have asked ‘what does it feel like to win this race?’, it’s been satisfying, not euphoric.”
In his 16-year stint at the top, the Teessider has won Olympic silver and bronze, Commonwealth gold, three Premier Calendar titles, several national road, track and time-trial titles and a host of top British races. As he himself recognises, Olympic gold is the only piece of silverware missing from his collection.
Taking over from former team pursuit partner Paul Manning, who moves to the women’s Podium programme, Newton is not a stranger to coaching methods. “I’ve always taken an interest in it. I’ve been working on various coaching award over the last year. Over the last few years, I’ve been finishing off my sports science degree which specialised in coaching.”
“I’ve got quite a good tactical sense and the thought process that I use for racing starts from grassroots racing. I’ve always tried to figure it out, how races are going to work, what the best tactics are to use for a given situation, and I think I’m going to apply that to a lot of racing.”
“The biggest challenge to myself is putting that into a coaching form and delivering it to the riders. I’m pretty sure I can do a good job of that.”
Though he exits he sport as reigning Premier Calendar champion, 36-year-old Newton said he has no plans to race next year. “For the foreseeable future, I’m just going to stop. If I try and race and work, I’ll pull more to the racing and the work would suffer. It’s better for me to just fully concentrate on the job in hand. But I’ll still ride my bike and stay fit.”
Chris Newton: rider profile