It’s not unknown for retired footballers to take on the route of the Tour de France – cancer survivor and former Crystal Palace and England player Geoff Thomas did so for charity – but a former Tour de France champion seeking to switch sports and establish himself in what Pelé once called “the beautiful game,” as Oscar Pereiro is seeking to do, is unprecedented.
This weekend, Pereiro, who won the 2006 Tour de France by default after Floyd Landis was stripped of his title, took his first tentative steps towards forging a career in a second sport by making his debut as a second-half substitute for the reserve team of Galician side Coruxo, which he signed for last week.
"I was quite nervous because I felt being watched. But I think I made no mistake," commented Pereiro, who has now retired from cycling, riding his final season this year with Astana after four years with Caisse d’Epargne.
If those watching him included scouts from the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, their reports back to the Bernabeu and Camp Nou are unlikely to be glowing, given the remarks made by Coruxo coach Jesus Camino.
"He is not an outstanding footballer but he contributed in a positive way to his team's game," stated Camino after the team’s 1-0 defeat, as reported on Fox Sports Australia.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.