By VeloNews Interactive

Bouchard-Hall at Philly
Bouchard-Hall at Philly

Photo: Bryan Jew

Citing an ongoing medical problem and an opportunity to pursue a new career, Mercury’s Derek Bouchard-Hall has confirmed his decision to retire after finishing the First Union USPRO championships in Philadelphia on Sunday.

The 31-year-old Bouchard-Hall underwent surgery in January 2000 to correct a problem caused by the narrowing of an artery in his left leg, a condition that had resulted in decreased blood flow and chronic pain.

A 1999 Pan-Am Games gold medallist in the team pursuit, he recovered beautifully and went on to win the 2000 USPRO criterium championship and a spot on the U.S. Olympic team pursuit squad. Bouchard-Hall, however, said that his continued participation in cycling has caused the problem to re-emerge, so he decided that Philadelphia would be his last race.

“I chose to end my career at that event because it has always been my favorite race due to its enormous crowds and beautiful race course,” Bouchard-Hall wrote to VeloNews. “Though victory narrowly eluded us, our team competed brilliantly and I savored every moment of my final race – which was roughly the 1000th of my career.”

Bouchard-Hall, however, has plans to move quickly into a new field of interest. Already armed with engineering degrees from Princeton and Stanford, he has recently been accepted at Harvard business school where he will now pursue an MBA.

“While I don’t know exactly what that second career will be, I know the path will begin this fall at the Harvard Business School where I will pursue an MBA,” Bouchard-Hall said. “New skills and interests that I developed since my days of studying civil engineering have led me to that path. I should finish the degree in June of 2004. Beyond that, the future is intriguingly uncertain.

“I have loved being a bike racer. Cycling is a beautiful sport. It has given me so many tremendous memories, experiences, and friendships. I will miss it greatly. But I leave with no regrets and much to look forward to.”