Long-term injuries and illness lead cycling star into retirement

Road, Track & Cyclocross
Regan Time Trial v2

One of New Zealand’s most decorated endurance cyclists, two-time Olympian Regan Gough has confirmed his retirement after a decade at the pointy end of the sport.

Gough, from a long line of outstanding riders from the Central Hawkes Bay, was the country’s most successful junior rider, with six medals at the Junior World Track Championships including rainbow jerseys in the madison (with fellow Hawkes Bay rider, Luke Mudgway) and the points race.

He joined the elite men’s endurance programme in 2015, part of the team that won the Team Pursuit at the world championships in Paris and silver medals two years later in Hong Kong followed by Berlin in 2020.

On the track, Gough’s unique mix of speed and endurance leant him to a key role as team starter, critical in the recent development in team pursuit which has seen times plummet.

The highlight was also the lowlight for Gough and the men’s endurance team at the Tokyo Olympics. Delayed a year, the group re-set and re-focussed. They qualified in a new national record, then went under the world record in their first-round ride against Italy, who through the freakish Filippo Ganna somehow edged the kiwis by less than the blink of the eye. Despite being the second fastest team, they chased the bronze medal against Australia. Gough produced another remarkable push to have the team under world record pace until the fateful crash to Aaron Gate and to their campaign with the medal all-but in their grasp.

While the group initially signalled a desire to regroup and return, Australian-based Jordan Kerby retired and Gough has battled illness and injury. He has been confronted with a raft of further challenges including long Covid, influenza, tonsillitis, bronchitis, sinus infection and appendicitis.

In the end, it proved a bridge too far, but his fortitude and focus in attempting to return time after time spoke volumes.

The Tokyo Olympic campaign remains the most remarkable 24 hours of unmatched quality by a New Zealand team pursuit and one of its most harrowing all in one. However Gate is under no illusions about Gough’s contribution.

"Reggie's departure from the sport will leave a big hole in our men's endurance team,” said Gate. “He is a phenomenal bloke to have as both a teammate and a mate, and his contribution to our sport cannot be taken lightly.

“His ability to always go above-and-beyond with whatever he puts his mind to, will set him and the young Gough family up for more success in the years to come with whatever endeavours he chases, I am sure."

While Gough prefers to let his riding do his talking, he said he holds the team pursuit and his Tokyo team with special regard.

“I was motivated by the desire to win,” Gough said. “The desire to see the hard work to fruition. I enjoyed the team I was with and we pushed eachother day-in, day-out. Lining up with them on race day was pretty cool and motivating.

“I love the team element of a team pursuit. There’s no other sport like it. Five or six guys that all get on like brothers. When you line-up for a team pursuit, you are going out there to ride for one another. It is going to hurt like hell but no-one will shy away from that challenge. That motivated me every day. Take rugby for example, there are 15 guys which is a big team. We are much smaller, and tight-knit.”

There was also success for Gough on the road, riding for Bolton Equities Black Spoke team and enjoying European experience with An Post Chain Reaction and Avanti Isowhey teams.

He earned podiums at the Tour of Southland, won the national championship time trial, and claimed victories in several stages of the NZ Cycle Classic along with the Green jersey in 2021 plus a stage of An Post Ras in Ireland.

When not riding his bike, Gough is focussed on his family with wife Poppy and daughter Evie, along with his private passions for skiing, fishing and love of motors – with his collection of cars, bikes and karts.

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