Matt Wilson Announces RetirementSun 5 Aug 2012
Matthew Wilson has announced that he will retire from racing next month. The Victorian will make his final race appearance at Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg. Wilson is poised to join ORICA-GreenEDGE as a Sports Director in 2013.
"ORICA-GreenEDGE have 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 will join the team at the Vuelta a España to begin to learn more about the various responsibilities associated with his new role.
"Originally, it was planned that I would ride the entire season, but due to a variety of circumstances, we moved things up slightly," noted Wilson. "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."
The 35-year-old career domestique said his body has begun to protest the rigors of racing.
"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."
The former Australian National Road Champion calls his road title one of two personal highlights over his 12 years in the professional peloton.
"Winning the Australian National Championships in 2004 and the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in 2007 are the two wins that stand out for me the most," Wilson said. "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."
"The start of my first Tour de France was huge," added Wilson. "It was a massive moment. I had dreamed about the Tour de France ever since I was a little kid. I never really believed I would get there so it was a hugely emotional moment to arrive on the start line of my first Tour."
Wilson believe the sport of professional cycling has undergone significant changes throughout his professional career.
"The peloton has become a lot more dangerous over the past ten years," he said. "It's not that it wasn't dangerous before, of course, but riders in this new generation don't feel the same restraints of tradition and respect that I began my career with. That's fine, though. Everything has to evolve. For me, I think it has become a young man's sport."
Ready to leave behind racing to the 'new generation', Wilson never considered leaving the sport.
My passion for cycling extends far beyond my personal involvement," explained Wilson. "If I'm not training or racing, I'm watching cycling on television or reading about it on the Internet. I am especially passionate about Australian cycling. It's a dream come true to be part of an Aussie team working to develop Aussie cyclists. I'm really looking forward to this next chapter of my career with ORICA-GreenEDGE."