Simon Gerrans starts off a series on past pros, we’ll find out what he’s been up to since his cycling career ended. Gerrans, in particular, chose a different route to the usual transition to the media or coaching.
Simon Gerrans’ Cycling Career
Gerrans kicked off his career by winning the Australian U-23 National Championship in 2002. The following year, he raced in Norway and Portugal before being snapped up as a stagiare (trainee) for AG2R Prévoyance in 2004. AG2R Prévoyance liked what they saw and signed him fully for 2005.
He took part in his first Tour de France that year, finishing 126th Overall and the best stage finish of 3rd. 2006 saw his first Tour Down Under win at home and another Tour de France participation that was more consistent but less showy – he finished 77th Overall. A final season at AG2R produced more of the same, the odd decent result and a Tour de France (94th Overall this time) but no glimpses of Gerrans’ future success.
A move to another French team, Crédit Agricole, saw Simon Gerrans win his first Tour de France stage. That team folded at the end of the year though so Gerrans moved again, this time to the Cervélo TestTeam. 2009 became a breakout year with stage wins at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana. This made him the first Australian to win a stage at each of the Grand Tours. He also won his biggest one-day race up to that point – GP Ouest France (now the Bretagne Classic).
His first year with Team Sky was quiet and then interrupted by breaking his arm in the Tour de France. The second-year at Sky wasn’t much better although podium finishes at Amstel Gold and GP Ouest France were highlights. It wasn’t a surprise when Gerrans moved to the new Australian team GreenEdge for 2012 as one of their star Australian riders.
2012 was a career year. The Tour Down Under and national champs were won early in the season before Gerrans won his first monument in Milan San Remo. He won by outsprinting fellow attackers Fabian Cancellara and Vincenzo Nibali to take the victory. Later in the year, he finished 2nd at San Sebastian and won the GP Quebec, beating Greg van Averamet in the sprint.
2013 didn’t see the big one-day race victory but another Tour de France stage win was good compensation. The following year, another monument victory was won, this time in the 2014 Liege-Bastogne-Liege, after Dan Martin slid out on the final corner. A third 3rd place in Amstel Gold rounded out the Spring. The end of that season saw victories in Canada – the GPs Quebec and Montreal heading into the World Championships. Gerrans won a silver medal there, finishing just 1 second behind winner Michal Kwiatkowski.
This to be the end of the peak years, mainly due to injuries. Gerrans broke his collarbone in January, his elbow in Strade Bianche and his wrist at the Tour de France. He won the Tour Down Under for the 4th time in 2016 but this broke his collarbone again in the Tour de France. 2017 saw 2nd places but no wins and Gerrans was about to retire from the sport before Richie Porte approaching him to join BMC. Gerrans helped BMC win the team time trial stage at his 12th Tour de France, his last participation in that race. He confirmed his retirement at the end of the 2018 season.
Once Gerran called time on his career it wasn’t obvious what he would do next. As it was, Gerrans found out that Goldman Sachs run a programme for former athletes. He worked for 6 months across the Securities Division in various roles, picking up experience before taking up a role providing FX solutions. Throughout 2019, Gerrans often rode around London, his new base.
This month, Simon Gerrans took up a new role as Chief Operating Officer at the Service Course. The Service Course was set up by Christian Meier, Gerrans’ former GreenEdge teammate, as his own post-cycling career. Originally a cycling cafe (and more!) based in Girona near Barcelona, they’ve recently expanded to Wilmslow in the UK and Oslo, Norway. Current pros Michael Woods, Kasia Niewiadoma and Edvald Boasson Hagen have all invested in the last year and help them expand. I’m hoping to visit the Wilmslow one soon!