We’ve already seen a pro cyclist switching sports to become a professional horse jockey, now a Scottish jockey is retiring to do a “Pendleton in reverse”.
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Inspired by the career change that British cyclist Victoria Pendleton made after London 2012, senior jump jockey Wilson Renwick says becoming a professional cyclist is “the dream”, adding: “Victoria did brilliantly getting to Cheltenham, and going some way to trying to emulate what she did would be quite something.”
Renwick, 36, was one of the most successful horse jumpers in the UK with over 400 wins to his name, but was forced to retire after a bad fall at Market Rasen in May 2015. He suffered concussion and broke a vertebra in his neck, his collarbone, jawbone and a couple of ribs. A specialist has since told him that he will not recover sufficiently to race again.
“There’s nothing wrong with my legs”
“Nerve damage in my left arm means some of the muscle has wasted away and I’ve lost power in it, which won’t come back, so that’s it,” Renwick told BBC Sport. “The experts say endurance athletes are at their best at my age, but probably need to have started developing from 20. I’m maybe too old, but it’d be great to give it a go — 90 percent of my body is fine, and there’s nothing wrong with my legs.”
Renwick has already signed with Italy-based team Parentini, and is classified as ‘elite’ level. According to his British Cycling records, his 2016 palmares include a win at the Border Trophy 10-mile TT, and second-place finishes at the Cromarty Stage Race and Jack Campbell Memorial Road Race.
In a 2015 interview with Velo Veritas, Renwick revealed that he did a VO2 max test at Liverpool University, to measure the maximum amount of oxygen that his body can use at maximal sustained output — an accurate measure of fitness. Renwick scored 90 ml/kg/min — “the highest that the doctor conducting the test had ever seen”. For comparison, Greg Lemond scored 92.5, Miguel Indurain scored 88, and Lance Armstrong once scored 84.