Hoy puts retirement on hold for 2012

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The Independent Online

Chris Hoy has admitted the lure of cycling in front of a passionate home crowd at the London 2012 Olympics prevented him from retiring at the top of his sport.

Hoy, named BBC sports personality of the year on Sunday night, won three gold medals in Beijing to add to one at the Athens Games in 2004 and a silver at Sydney 2000.



The Scot is now 32 but believes he has plenty of years left at the top - even if it is harder to stay there. London in 2012 also remains a huge incentive to stay in the saddle.



He said: "When I knew it was going to be in London, there was no question of me retiring. If it had been somewhere else, maybe it would have been a tougher choice to make.



"But to have the British crowd there supporting you and to have the potential of maybe winning another gold medal or two or three - however many - you don't get a bigger motivation than that."



Hoy's stint as an expert pundit for cycling's World Cup in Manchester last month convinced him that remaining on the track was the right decision.



He added: "To me it was a good sign that I wasn't ready to retire and hang up my wheels. I have more ambition, more drive. I am still motivated. And I am 32, not in my 50s. I still have a few more years left.



"Cycling is not high-impact and you are not putting your joints through a lot of stress - one guy in his 40s won a gold medal in cycling in Beijing."



He admits though that the competition from up-and-coming young riders is proving ever-more testing, but that also means the future is bright for British cycling.



"It is because of these riders that I am having to train that little bit harder just to get on the team. That helps me raise my game," said Hoy.



"Sometimes I am cursing them because they are so fast and there is a threat of getting knocked off the team. But also, it is what pushes me on. That level of competition within the team day in, day out is what makes us successful.



"We have the funding, the support staff and support network, and most importantly we've got a huge crop of young, talented riders."



Hoy beat Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington in the vote for the award.



Adlington said that Hoy was a worthy winner. She added: "Chris is kind of 'the captain' of Team GB.



"It is an honour just to know him. I have learned how professional he is and his attitude is everything.



"He is such a nice person. He is so oriented towards the team - even with individual things it is a team effort. I love that about Chris. He is so genuinely excited and happy for absolutely everybody.



"I had never met him before the Olympics but now it is like I have known him my whole life - I love that about him."



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