November 30, 2016 / 5:02 AM / 2 years ago

Triple world champion Bobridge retires due to arthritis

Jack Bobridge of Australia celebrates winning the Men's Individual Pursuit at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Apeldoorn March 24, 2011. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia’s triple world champion Jack Bobridge has retired from professional cycling at the age of 27 as he struggles to cope with rheumatoid arthritis.

The national road race champion, who also won silver medals in the team pursuit on the track at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, was diagnosed with the chronic condition in 2010 and has been managing it with medication.

He left his professional team Trek Segafredo in September and said the condition had eased as he lightened his training load.

“Since the (Rio) Games and backing off the training and racing load I’ve found my arthritis has been 100 percent better and I’ve been able to get off all meds as well,” he told the Adelaide Advertiser on Wednesday.

“I’m still on the bike three times a week but in terms of the arthritis its been way less stressful on the joints and body.

“I’ve had a good career, I’ve got good results and ... I’ve lived a good life in Europe and to me the decision is pretty easy. And since I made it I haven’t thought twice about it.”

Bobridge, who broke the world record for the 4,000m individual pursuit in 2011 and won four Commonwealth Games golds on the track, said riding major tours on the road in Europe this year had confirmed his decision to retire.

“I only went back to Europe this year to finalize things in my own head,” he added. “I found it wasn’t enjoyable with the arthritis and the pain.

“I haven’t thought am I doing the right thing? And I suppose after a few months of not racing if you haven’t got that hunger I guess you know it’s the right decision.”

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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