Sir Chris Hoy set to announce retirement

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Sir Chris Hoy, Britain’s greatest Olympian, is expected to announce his retirement this week in his home city of Edinburgh.

The six-time gold medallist has spent the post-London 2012 period considering his future and deciding whether to compete in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The Edinburgh-born cyclist looks set to announce his retirement. Picture: PA

The Edinburgh-born cyclist looks set to announce his retirement. Picture: PA

He will be 38 when the competition gets under way – at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, built for the Games – and, privately, senior figures in the sport say they have known for some time he would retire before then.

Sir Chris will appear at a press conference at Murrayfield Stadium on Thursday, where he will make a “major announcement”.

The Scot, who won his first Olympic gold in Athens in 2004, has competed at four Olympic Games, taking a British record six gold medals.

He was always going to retire after Glasgow 2014. However, he said he would only take part in that competition if his body was up to it.

In last November’s track World Cup event in Glasgow, he said his desire to ride on until the Commonwealth Games was not the issue, and it was instead a question of whether his body could handle another games event.

“Being here and seeing the stadium hasn’t made me want to be there any more [than it did before],” said Sir Chris, who was a spectator at the time in the arena that bears his name.

“I couldn’t have wanted it any more. You can visualise what it will be like. To have a home Commonwealth Games on the back of a home Olympic Games, not many riders have that chance, so I’m certainly not lacking motivation about making it to the Games. It’s about whether my body can hold on.”

Sir Chris had carried on training after the London Games, including at his winter base in Perth, Australia, but that was disrupted by illness. Sir Chris won the Rotterdam six-day event in January, then went on holiday with wife Sarra, which had been planned for some time, through Asia and then on to Australia. He had no further races planned for 2013.

It is believed he made the decision about his future when he was on holiday.

His injuries have not been widely documented, but in the run-up to London, Sir Chris’s body was under significant strain. The updated version of his autobiography, published after the Games in the summer, made it clear he had been carrying a back injury between the world championships in Melbourne last April and the Olympics.

Between the Beijing and London Olympics, he broke a rib while weight training, and had a serious crash at the Copenhagen World Cup in February 2009, when he fell and was hit by fellow Scots cyclist Ross Edgar in the keirin final, resulting in an injured hip.

Away from the saddle, he has already prepared for life beyond competitive action.

Late last year, he announced he would be releasing a brand of cycles bearing his name, one of numerous sponsorship endorsements resulting from his tremendous success.

It is not just in the Olympics where Sir Chris has triumphed, but his success on that particular stage has propelled him to super-stardom.

He was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2008 and knighted in the Queen’s New Year Honours.

But he was not selected to defend his sprint title at London 2012 as regulation changes meant only one rider per nation could compete. Jason Kenny won gold and then joined the Scot and Philip Hindes to win team sprint gold.

Sir Chris raced on the final day of the London 2012 track programme, winning the keirin to take his sixth Olympic gold.

That saw him overtake Sir Steve Redgrave as the Briton with the most gold medals.

Sir Chris made no mention of his future when he posted remarks on his Twitter account.