Australia's Graeme Brown calls it a career in Hainan

Dual Australian Olympic champion announces retirement

31/10/2016 at 14:43Updated 31/10/2016 at 14:44

Two-time Olympic track gold medallist and world champion Graeme Brown ends 16-year road cycling career following final UCI race at Tour of Hainan…

After 34 years of racing bikes, including the past 16 on the Pro Tour, Brown is looking forward  to what lies ahead - Photo: Adrian Hoe / Tour of Hainan

After 34 years of racing bikes, including the past 16 on the Pro Tour, Brown is looking forward to what lies ahead - Photo: Adrian Hoe / Tour of HainanEurosport

After first being introduced to BMX, Brown gradually moved on to track cycling in pursuit of Olympic selection. The Sydney (NSW) native, who now resides in Perth (WA), quickly excelled in the velodrome picking up an under-19 UCI team pursuit world championship in 1997, along with several junior and senior national championships from 1996-2000.

In 2000, Brown made his debut on the road and would make the first of 14 Tour Down Under (TDU) appearances in the race’s 18-year history – an all-time record. Over the next two seasons, Brown would claims stage wins at the TDU, Le Tour de Langkawi (LTDL), Giro delle Regioni and Tour of Japan, as well as a standout second-place finish to Mario Cipollini (ITA) on the opening stage of the 2002 Giro d’Italia in his grand tour debut.

During that period, Brown would reach his greatest success on the track earning Commonwealth Games gold medals in both the team pursuit and men’s scratch race (2002), a world championship in the team pursuit (2003) and Olympic gold in both the team pursuit and the madison (2004).

Following the Athens Olympics, Brown made the switch full-time to road and would spend 10 of the next 16 years riding with Rabobank (2006-12), which would later become Blanco then Belkin (2013-14).

By the numbers, Brown raced eight Giros, one Vuelta a España and three classics, including Milan-San Remo twice and Tour of Flanders once. He recorded 18 pro wins in his career, most notably three stages at the TDU, nine at LTDL and one each at Tour of California and Tour of Pologne.

“It will be strange not to go to a race on the weekend,” said the father of three and husband to Australian cycling champion Hayley Rutherford. “But I’m looking forward to the break and spending more time with the kids, working out around the house and being a stay-at-home dad, basically, as I get more involved in developing my new cycling training business – GB Coaching.”

While the Tour of Hainan was Brown’s last UCI race, he will be competing on November 19 at ‘Graeme’s Last Lap’ criterium alongside a world class field including former Hour Record holder Rohan Dennis (BMC), 2010 Australian road race champion – and fellow Drapac retiree – Travis Meyer and many others at the Claremont Showground in Perth.

“I don’t want it to be a goodbye race,” Brown told CyclingTips. “I want it to be a race, and I’ve been training extremely hard over the past two months in the lead-up to Hainan and Graeme’s Last Lap, because I was extremely disappointed with my lack of performance at my last UCI European race (Tour du Limousin) in August and I didn’t want to go out like that.

“I do feel a bit pressure to win, and the last few nights I’ve been going through all the scenarios in my head. 

“If I’ve got to sprint for the win, then I’m going out of this sport the same way I came in – and that’s swinging!”