Brent Bookwalter will step away from professional cycling following the 2021 season — his 11th season in the WorldTour.
The 37-year-old has spent the past 16 years in the pro ranks, and will finish out his career with Team BikeExchange.
“I’ve been honored to work alongside some of the most talented and dedicated athletes, staff, and management. It is difficult to leave a sport that I still truly love, and I am so grateful for the amazing opportunities that have been presented to me throughout the years,” Bookwalter said. “I feel so fortunate to have had the career I’ve had—from racing most of it at the same team who actually took a pretty big risk on me, in the beginning, all the way to helping Cadel win the Tour de France. Additionally, it was a tremendous privilege to represent the United States as an Olympian and that will be something I cherish forever.”
Bookwalter retires having notched one of the longest American careers in the men’s WorldTour. Throughout his career Bookwalter was a top lieutenant, a GC threat at weeklong races, and an Olympian. He was part of the squad that helped Cadel Evans capture the 2011 Tour de France overall, and he also represented the U.S. at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Bookwalter also finished on the podium at the biggest pro events in North America, including the Amgen Tour of California (2016); USA Pro Challenge (2015), and the Tour of Utah (2015).
A Michigan native, Bookwalter launched his pro career after a successful stint in the U.S. collegiate cycling ranks, where he competed for Lees McRae College. Bookwalter won nine collegiate cycling titles — in road, mountain bike, and ‘cross — before turning pro in 2005.
“I wanted to be a professional because it would allow me to have the joy of riding a bike as an integral part of my life and my job,” he said. “The path and process that it required intrigued and motivated me. It also allowed me to learn more about myself and accomplish things as part of a team in a way that I never realized I was capable of doing.”
The following year he won the U23 national time trial championship. In 2007, Team BMC offered Bookwalter a contract and two years later, in 2009, he won the prologue at the Tour of Utah. In 2011, was part of the squad that set Australian Cadel Evans up for a win at the Tour de France.
Bookwalter signed with Team BikeExchange in 2019 (then Mitchelton–Scott), and was road captain, filling the role of guiding younger and less-experienced riders. With his guidance, Team BikeExchange earned stage victories at all three grand tours. He also scored a major result at the 2020 edition of Strade Bianche, rolling across the line in seventh place after a hot day on the dusty roads.
Bookwalter represented the United States at seven UCI world championships, including the U23 road race, a junior men’s mountain bike championships, and a junior men’s ‘cross championships. He also raced in both the time trial and road race at the 2016 Olympics. He was also been active in the CPA, and an advocate for rider safety.
These days Bookwalter splits his time between Girona, Spain, and Asheville, North Carolina, with his wife, Jamie, and son, Waylon.
“It has always been my unwavering goal to sustain excellence in everything I do. I aimed to always support my team without an ego while still achieving individual results when the opportunity arose. I look forward to taking these lessons into my next chapter in life,” he added.