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

Simon Gerrans wins the 2012 Milan-San Remo (Photo: Yuzuru SUNADA)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

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.

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.

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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.”

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.