Simon Gerrans: ‘Some people don’t believe they’re seeing me riding around Richmond Park’

The double Monument winner on adapting to life as a weekend warrior

It’s not every day you compete with a double Monument winner on a Strava segment, but Londoners might have spotted a familiar face on their regular routes in recent months.

Australia’s Simon Gerrans, the recently retired victor of both Milan-San Remo and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, has traded in the mountains of Andorra for laps of Richmond Park.

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Gerrans, 38, has moved to the capital to take up an athlete internship with investment bank Goldman Sachs, having raced in the pro peloton for the final time last October.

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Cycling Weekly sat down with the two-time Australian champion in central London on Wednesday (February 13) where he was promoting Hexr Helmets, a unique brand of custom-fitted 3D printed kit.

Gerrans said: “I’m not doing anywhere near the amount of riding I was until recently, but I’m generally trying to get out on the weekends.

“I live not too far from the centre of London but I get out towards Richmond Park, and Surrey, Windsor, or down to Kent.

“You do get the odd person who’ll do a double take or not quite believing who they’re seeing riding around Richmond Park on a Sunday morning.”

On his new riding companions, he added: “It’s been great. There’s a great cycling community here in London, a lot of passionate bike riders so it’s nice to get out there with them.

“It’s more of a chain gang [I’m riding with], it’s a lot of guys I’ve met through work and through cycling. Your network grows really quickly and it’s been a fantastic tool for meeting new people here in London.

“I rode out around Box Hill a little while ago with the group that I ride with around here. The last time I rode up Box Hill was the Olympic games in 2012.”

Gerrans rode a long and prestigious career, taking wins in some of the world’s biggest races.

After turning pro in 2004, he rode for Ag2r, Cervelo Test Team, Team Sky and Orica-Greenedge before he switched to BMC for his final season.

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During his 16-year career Gerrans notched 33 pro wins, including stages in all three Grand Tours, four overall victories at the Tour Down Under and two Monuments – San Remo in 2012 and Liège in 2014.

Having left racing behind, Gerrans seems at ease with the transition into retirement.

He said: “I don’t have any competitive ambitions [after retirement], I still enjoy riding my bike. I still enjoy getting out on the weekends and going for a ride with my mates. It’s very social now.

“As far as things I’d like to do, I’d still like to travel a bit down the track and cycle in a few different destinations, but I definitely don’t have any competitive ambitions.”

And on whether we might see Gerrans racing criteriums at Hillingdon or Lee Valley, he added: “You might see me on the side of the track with a beer.”