Mark Bristow Announces Retirement

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Para-Cyclist Mark Bristow Announces Retirement

Posted: 26th April 2011

Mark Bristow, double Paralympic Champion, has announced his retirement from the GB Para-Cycling Team after six successful years on the team.

Mark joined British Cycling Paralympic Programme in 2005 and in 2008 fulfilled his dream of competing at the Beijing Paralympic Games where he won two Gold medals and broke two World Records - in the 1km Time Trial and in the Team Sprint. He also won three World Champion jerseys during his time with British Cycling.

Mark, 49, has been racing all his life, inspired by his dad, and took up disability cycling after being injured in a bike crash in San Francisco in 1997 which left him with a brachial plexus paralysis of his right upper arm.

Chris Furber, Lead Para-Cycling Coach, said: "It has been a pleasure working with Mark and he has been a fantastic rider. Mark is based in the USA and made a huge personal sacrifice to get in the shape for Beijing Games by spending time away from his wife and children. It was his dream to compete in Beijing and to win Gold and he did that in the Kilo on his own and then joined up with Jody Cundy and Darren Kenny to win another Gold in the Team Sprint. He has had a fantastic career and will be sorely missed."

Mark was awarded an MBE in the Queen's 2009 New Years Honours list.

We caught up with Mark to ask him about his decision and plans away from competitive cycling.

Q: What has prompted you to retire?

"I was the record holder in the Kilo until this year's Para-Cycling Track World Championships in Italy when it got well and truly beaten by my team mate Jon-Allan Butterworth. He's in his mid 20's and a full time bike rider in Manchester while I am 49 this year, living in California. It's time to hang up my wheels and just enjoy riding my bike."

Q: What are your memories from your time with the GB Para-Cycling Team?

"For me, it has been an awesome experience. One of my funniest ones is talking to my wife and saying that during a warm-up at Manchester, I had Sir Chris Hoy and all the star boys and girls behind me and I'm behind the motorbike thinking ‘if I clip the back of the motorbike now and come down, there is several million dollars worth of GB riders behind me and I'll be lynched'. So being able to rub shoulders with the stars has been fun."

Q: What's your career highlight?

"That has to be Beijing in the Kilo. I went there as Man 3 in the Team Sprint and was seeded four in the Kilo and had to sit there and watch three others try and beat me. I didn't go there to win and the Paralympic CEO at the time said to me afterwards that of all the Gold medals he saw at the Velodrome, mine was the best because it was the unexpected one."

Q: What's next for you?

"I look forward to just enjoying riding for the fun of it and spending time with my kids and wife. We were joking how for the last five or six Worlds I have had to get over the eight hours jet leg to get here and next year they are down the road from me for the Para-Cycling Track World Championships. It's their turn to have the jet lag and I will come along to watch and cheer the guys on. I'm really excited for team because they are doing so well at the moment and I can't wait to watch them perform at the 2012 London Paralympic Games."

Mark's last competition with the team was the 2011 UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships in Italy where Britain scooped 18 medals.