Cyclist Jesse Sergent has returned to Manawatu for a break, with an Olympics bronze medal and several tours under his belt this year.
Sergent arrived in Palmerston North yesterday, having just finished the Tour of Beijing.
He was greeted at the airport by a guard of honour from the Palmerston North Boys’ High cycling team and former coach Mike McRedmond.
He hadn’t had a break since he won his second bronze medal in the team pursuit at the London Olympics in August.
‘‘It was definitely hard coming back after the Olympics,’’ he said.
‘‘I was gone before it had even finished. Only like four or five days after we raced, I was back in Girona, back training and pretty much back racing straight away as well.
‘‘That was pretty hard, it was another two months of the season to go. It was good to carry on racing for the rest of the year and do the worlds, which was a good goal.’’
He wasn’t sure how long he would be home, but said he was glad to finally have a break after a non-stop season, including 57th place at the Tour of Beijing where he was nearly 15 minutes behind the winner.
Since London he competed in more than 30 race days and the road world championships.
‘‘It made the time go faster and it’s good to finish the season like that. Rather than just having a big break, it just means at the start of next year I’m not really starting from scratch.’’
There wasn’t much fanfare for Sergent after the Games.
‘‘Going back to my apartment in Girona was a bit of an anticlimax. The medal just sat there and no-one really saw it.
‘‘Then you hear about all the celebrations back home, but it’s just the way cycling is. There’s other guys that won gold medals that were back racing.’’
It was his second Olympic medal after winning bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games but it was different for him this time.
‘‘Beijing happened and we weren’t really expected to do that, to get a medal. And it was all so rushed as well.
"I was young and never really took anything in. Didn’t have any real memories of the podium and all that kind of stuff... this time around I was a bit older and it just sunk in a lot quicker.’’
He was planning a ‘‘few weeks off the bike’’, then he would have a couple of training camps in Europe before the end of the year.
He has another year on his contract with RadioShack-Nissan-Trek and for now it is goodbye to track cycling and he will be focusing on the road.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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