Matthew Wilson has announced that he is ready to begin a new chapter in his career and will make the move from rider to sports director following the Vattenfall Cyclassics next month. He is a veteran of five grand tours.
"Orica-GreenEdge has offered me an amazing opportunity to pursue a career that I hope will suit me well," said Wilson. "We have been discussing this move for awhile, and I really felt now was the right time. I've started to feel that I can be of more use to my team in the car than on the bike. When you realise that, it's time to stop."
Wilson, a former Australian national road champion, had originally planned to ride out the season but will instead begin learning the ropes for his new role at the Vuelta a España.
"Hamburg should be a good last race. It's a one-day race I've always enjoyed, and it allows me to meet up with the team in Spain to begin to get a feel for my new role."
Wilson, 34, has dedicated himself to supporting others throughout his career and there was no better example of his warrior-like status than at last year’s Giro d’Italia where as maglia nera, he fought to continue racing as long as he could. Wilson, riding for Garmin-Cervelo, crashed on stage 8 injuring his hand, he then developed ganglions before eventually succumbing to a stomach virus. His then DS Lionel Marie told Cyclingnews that Wilson stayed in the race "only because he's got unbelievable courage."
This season, riding for GreenEdge, Wilson has discovered that the years of suffering on the bike have begun to take a toll.
"My body just isn't as strong as it used to be," he explained. "I find myself getting sick and injured more often. Getting back to top condition has become harder and harder. I got to the point where I had to start thinking about my future and what my body would be like if I kept pushing it the way I have been. I've never been a rider with huge natural ability, so if I'm not 100%, I suffer badly."
Of his 12-year professional career which began with fdjeux.com, Wilson said that his national championship victory in 2004 and his Jayco Herald Sun Tour win on home turf stand out.
"But so many other wins that I've been involved in like Baden Cooke's green jersey in the Tour in '03, various Grand Tour stage wins, Simon Gerrans' Sun Tour and this year's Milan San-Remo all stand out. I never saw myself as an individual rider.
"I knew I never had the talent to be a consistent winner, but I could give a lot to the team in pursuit of these goals."