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In a statement that shows just how many people can contribute to a professional career, double Olympic medalist Sam Bewley announced this season will be his last.
The 35-year-old New Zealander has called it a day after more than a dozen years in the bunch, 11 of which he spent with the Orica GreenEdge/Team BikeExchange-Jayco squad. Along with Luke Durbridge and Michael Hepburn, he is the only rider to have ridden with the squad since its first WorldTour season in 2012.
“2022 will be my final year as a professional cyclist,” Bewley said on social media. “I loved cycling from a young age, I watched it, I read about it, I pretended I was good at it but never did I think that 20 years later I’d be retiring from a career of it. In my 14 years professional I’ve defended yellow jerseys, pink jerseys, won a couple of Olympic medals but it’s the people I’ve met during all this that mean the most.
“Sport and life is full of ups and downs and you don’t make it through the latter alone. I’ve loved every minute of the ride and the learning has never stopped! I owe so much to this sport and now it’s time for me to hang up the helmet, put the number pins away and hopefully give back to the next generation of talented bike riders.”
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Bewley took bronze medals in the team pursuit in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. He joined Trek-Livestrong, now Hagens Berman Axeon, in 2009, then stepped up to the WorldTour the following season with Team RadioShack. After two seasons there he moved to Orica GreenEdge and has remained there ever since.
He worked as a domestique, riding the Tour de France in 2020, five Vueltas and three editions of the Giro. He backed many of BikeExchange-Jayco’s captains and was part of the lineup at the 2016 Paris-Roubaix when Mathew Hayman won.
In a long list of people he thanked for his career, he named BikeExchange-Jayco owner Gerry Ryan as being of big importance to him.
“There are so many people that have played a huge part in my journey and I’ll make sure I buy you all a beer later this year. For now I have to thank a few people …
“Gerry and the Ryan people for making me understand the importance of good people and good culture.
“My closest friends over here. Thanks for picking me up from hospitals & surgeries & thanks for making Europe feel like home.
“Mum, Dad and Zac. The staunchest of supporters through good times and bad! Many hours, kilometers and dollars spent to allow me to fulfill my dreams. I’ll never be able to repay any of that but I’ll be forever thankful.”
After more than 10 years with the team and 14 years as a pro, @sam_bewley will retire at the end of 2022.
What a journey! Enjoy the next chapter and the last few races, Bewls 👏 https://t.co/qz7gp3jfRx
— Team BikeExchange-Jayco (@GreenEDGEteam) August 1, 2022
He also paid tribute to his partner Hannah Barnes, the British rider who races for Canyon-SRAM.
“She may not have been here for the entire ride but she’s been here for the toughest part of it. She’s put up with my shit, my indecision and my silence while trying to work this all out. Her unwavering support for what I choose to do has been second to none. I’m so grateful for that and now I look forward to supporting her 100 percent while she continues her racing career and having her next to me wherever the wind blows me for the next chapter!”
Bewley has spent a long time living in Girona, one of Europe’s biggest bases for ex-pat bike riders. He is one of the investors in The Service Course there, and co-hosts “The Social Distance Podcast” with Jumbo-Visma rider George Bennett and the Australian videographer Dan Jones.
Speaking on that podcast, he talked about the community of people behind a bike rider’s career, something which is particularly vital for the New Zealanders, Australians, Americans, and Canadians who live very far away from home.
“When I reflect on my career the most, it’s less about things that were done on the bike and performances that I’ve had or performances that I’ve been involved with other teammates like Mattie Hayman —you can see the poster behind me when he won Paris-Roubaix, that was another experience — but just the people I have met,” he said.
“I have made a life over here in Europe. I’ve met some people, my best friends. They have made Europe a home for me. They are less friends and more of a family.”