‘It’s about closure’ - Former track and BMX star Shanaze Reade returns to racing after retirement

Reade says her mental health suffered at the end of her career, but that she now treats competition as a hobby

Shanaze Reade has returned to the track after retirement (Picture: Alex Broadway/SWpix)

(Image credit: Alex Broadway/SWpix.com)

Returning track sprinter Shanaze Reade has said her return to racing is about “closure” after an unsatisfactory end to her career.

Former World Champion Reade, also a former BMX champion, retired from racing in 2017 and went into fitness coaching.

But the 30-year-old started training with the squad again five months ago.

“I got a call from Sparky [BC performance director Stephen Park] and he said I feel like you have unfinished business, you’re in much better shape than we’ve seen you - I’d lost 27kg. And I said no the first time,” she told Cycling Weekly.

“After the second time he asked I was a bit annoyed and the third time he asked me I was enjoying my crossfit and healthy food and I thought I ended my career in pretty bad shape.

"I wasn’t the best athlete I could have been, I started losing the desire and passion, why not? All this now is about closure whether tomorrow is the end or Tokyo hopefully.”

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Asked why she stopped in 2017, having been a part of British Cycling since she was a junior, she said she had to “discover” herself.

“I know it sounds cliché but I needed to discover there was more to life than riding my bike,” she said.

Reade adds that she had “struggled with a few personal demons” during her earlier career and she wasn’t in good mental health when she eventually decided to leave.

“When you’re in a programme like this it’s phenomenal, everything is done for you.

"It’s like you’re back in school again but I was stuck between a rock and hard place I didn’t want to be here but I didn’t want to be out there, I was too scared.

“Eventually I retired at 28 and it was the best thing I ever did.  I’ve come back with a great passion and view on things,” she adds.

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Reade added that she now treats the sport as hobby, not receiving funding to be a rider as she doesn’t want it, “as long as I get the same equipment and taken to races,” she said.

“I want to be physically well and mentally well and I couldn’t say that about the end of my career.

"As long as when I end my career and I’m 40, I can say I did everything I could have done and I did it my way,” she says.

Unfortunately for Reade, recently introduced UCI rules mean she is not eligible to go to the World Championships, despite her performance in Manchester confirming she is one of the fastest on BCs roster, because has not appeared at any World Cup events.

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