Time's up for McGee

26 September 2008

One of Australia's greatest cyclists Brad McGee is swapping racing for a new role as a team director.

The veteran of four Olympics will end his 10-year professional career in the sport at next month's Herald Sun Tour in Victoria.

The 32-year-old was due to continue racing next year with the powerful CSC-Saxo Bank team, which he joined at the start of this season, but said a call from owner Bjarne Riis offering him a job as the outfit's team director was too good to refuse.

"I weighed everything up and realised that opportunities like this don't come around very often, once in a lifetime possibly, and jumped on it and it feels great, feels good, feels right," McGee said.

"Not a bone in my body feels a pull to stay racing.

"This new job will challenge me more than ever and I welcome it.

"I welcome leaving the world stage, taking a step back from the bright lights and expressing myself, my knowledge, my drive, through new methods."

McGee holds a unique place in the history of Australian cycling as the only man to hold the leaders' jersey in all three of the world's grand tours - the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Tour of Spain.

He also claimed five Olympic medals - the most of any Australian cyclist - including gold in the team pursuit at the 2004 Athens Games.

But the Sydney native has been hampered by a series of niggling injuries in recent years. After recovering from a problematic sciatic nerve injury, which troubled him for the best part of two years, McGee broke his collarbone in the third stage of the Giro d'Italia in June, wrecking his chances of a last Tour de France campaign.

But McGee fought back to take his place at the Beijing Olympics, where he placed fourth in the team pursuit. McGee said his new role as a team director would by no means be a walk in the park.

"I have had some experience many years ago (2002) on the Herald Sun Tour directing Baden Cooke into the overall victory which left me as fatigued mentally and physically as I've ever been in my life," he said.

"So it's good that I've got that experience because I know what I'm getting into."

McGee, a winner of five Commonwealth Games gold medals, steps into the role that was left vacant by compatriot Scott Sunderland, who left CSC for a position with Team Cervelo.

Justin Chadwick

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