French track rider Grégory Baugé has called time on his racing career at the age of 35. A nine-time world champion and four-time Olympic medallist, Baugé was set to end his career at the Tokyo Olympics but announced his retirement on Sunday.
Baugé announced his decision on the Stade 2 programme on France TV Sport, saying that he no longer felt able to extract 100 per cent of his abilities ahead of the rescheduled Olympics.
“I have always been at 100 per cent and I noticed I was no longer in this pattern,” he said. “Overnight, I felt that I was restricted to 90 per cent. That isn’t enough to seek a performance at the Olympics.”
Baugé, who hails from Maisons-Laffitte north-west of Paris, is among the most successful French track cyclists of his generation, a three-time medallist in the team sprint at the Olympics. He won silver at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, plus bronze at Rio 2016. He also won a silver in the individual sprint in 2012.
In addition to his Olympic palmarès, Baugé was team sprint world champion with France on five occasions – in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2015 – and took the rainbow jersey in the individual competition in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2015. He also won five European titles during his career and won the Vélo d’or Français in 2009.
“I miss the Olympic title,” he said. “But my biggest regret is to have caused my teammates to lose a world title.”
In 2011, Baugé had won the individual sprint and team sprint world titles – the latter alongside long-time teammates Kévin Sireau and Michaël D’Almeida – but lost both after violating anti-doping whereabouts rules, having missed a test and made two filing failures during the year.
UCI President David Lappartient was among those to pay tribute to Baugé on Sunday, posting to Twitter.
“With [Baugé] announcing his retirement this evening, I’d like to thank him for his dedication and passion for track cycling and wish him all the best for the future.”
With @enkounia announcing his retirement this evening, I’d like to thank him for his dedication and passion for track cycling and wish him all the best for the future. A career which has spanned many years, accompanied by multiple UCI Track World titles and Olympic podiums! pic.twitter.com/ks9VpiD89VJanuary 10, 2021