Robbie McEwen says he is happy with the timing of his retirement, feted for some time in May next year, and is looking forward to the next chapter in his career as a tactical advisor with the burgeoning GreenEdge squad. Speaking at the launch of his auto-biography One Way Road in Sydney bike store Velosophy, the three time Maillot Vert winner explained to Cyclingnews that his late season success in Europe at no time made him re-think his decision to hang up the bike.
"I'd already pretty much decided everything and the way I wanted things to go a little before Franco-Belge," said McEwen. "I know I'm still riding well, and I know I'm still one of the quickest, but I'm no longer one of the youngest any more.
"For me winning a couple more races might be nice but even I'll admit my best years are behind me. That's not just because of age, but also because of the injuries I've had over the years, like the broken leg in '09. If I can help guys [like Leigh Howard or Aidis Kruopis] win races, and the role I play to help them get there is significant, then I'm a happy man.
"That doesn't mean I won't have an opportunity to do a sprint for myself, or go after my own results - I will - but I'll really be there to share the knowledge and share the experience that I've built up over the years. The main plan though is to help these younger guys get up to speed a little bit quicker."
The 39-year-old will ride a classics focused season next year, before stepping into the team car as a tactical advisor, most likely after the Tour of California in May. The role, similar to that of Erik Zabel's at HTC will see the sprinting veteran do detailed course reconnisaince ahead of the race, as well as trying to teach the skills he's learnt over the years to the younger sprinters in the team.
McEwen did however all but write-off any suggestion that he would become a sporting director in the future, citing his tactical advisor role as a perfect fit.
"Personally, I don't see myself as a DS. Of course you can never say never, but at the moment I think the role I've got is perfect for me. Starting on the bike and then moving into this tactical advisor role is something I'm really looking forward to. I'll be scouting the finishes and then relaying information back to the guys at the start, analysing their season, helping them with tactics, training.
"The other part of my role, will be working with the team on a commercial level. I'll be going to events as an ambassador as well as a member of the staff. That sort of role is exactly the kind of thing I'm keen to get into, and it'll allow me to spend more time with my family, now based in Australia as well."
Though the Australian says he has no regrets, he does think that if he could have things over he would've loved to have won the World Championships at least once.
"It would have great to win the World Championships - you get to wear the jersey all year. I came close in 2002 and close again 2006. If I could choose one race that I would've liked to have won that'd be it, but I'm certainly happy with what I've achieved."
One Way Road is available in all major Australian book stores.
Alex Hinds, Production Editor
Alex Hinds is a graduate of Economics and Political Science from Sydney University. Growing up in the metropolitan area of the city he quickly became a bike junkie, dabbling in mountain and road riding. Alex raced on the road in his late teens, but with the time demands of work and university proving too much, decided not to further pursue full-time riding.
If he was going to be involved in cycling in another way the media seemed the next best bet and jumped at the opportunity to work in the Sydney office of Cyclingnews when an offer arose in early 2011.
Though the WorldTour is of course a huge point of focus throughout the year, Alex also takes a keen interest in the domestic racing scene with a view to helping foster the careers of the next generation of cycling.
When not writing for Cyclingnews Alex is a strong proponent of the awareness of cyclists on the road in Sydney having had a few close run-ins with city traffic in the past.
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