Horse jockey to do a ‘reverse Pendleton’

Wilson Renwick already signed to elite team Parentini

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”.

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."

British Olympian Victoria Pendleton took up the horse reins after quitting pro cycling
British Olympian Victoria Pendleton took up the horse reins after quitting pro cycling

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"

Renwick (left) has already signed with elite team Parentini
Renwick (left) has already signed with elite team Parentini

“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.

Jamie Beach

Deputy Editor, UK
Jamie's been addicted to bikes from the moment his stabilisers came off. Earliest cycling memory is the chipboard-ramp-on-bricks, but happiest one is bombing down a Mallorcan mountain pass that seemed it might never end. Always on the hunt for the perfect rain jacket, a keen collector of hats.
  • Discipline: Road, gravel
  • Preferred Terrain: Big mountains with long climbs, equally long and fast descents, the chance to get above the treeline.
  • Current Bikes: Genesis Croix de Fer, Brompton M3L
  • Dream Bike: BMC TeamMachine SLR01, Moots Routt
  • Beer of Choice: Augustiner
  • Location: Bath, Somerset, UK

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