Campbell Flakemore has addressed his reasons for leaving the sport in 2015 as a 23-year-old neo-pro with BMC Racing, writing on the blog Stanley Street Social that he has never regretted leaving the top level of the sport after just one year on a WorldTour team.
Flakemore, who is currently working for a landscape company in Hobart and plans to move back to Melbourne to start university again, wrote that he had started contemplating leaving the sport long before he signed his contract with BMC for the 2014 season.
In 2014, while suffering a deep slump as he competed with the Australian U23 squad in Europe, Flakemore had determined to leave the sport at the end of the 2014 season. But when he returned to the race scene after a brief trip to Barcelona with friends, his performances started to look up.
He won the opening time trial at the Tour de l’Avenir, and a contract offer from BMC soon followed. Then he went on to win the U23 time trial world championship title, and the prospects for his cycling future began to look up.
“It was two days before the TT when I got a call from my manager,” Flakemore wrote. “‘BMC have a contract for you,’ he said, ‘Do you want it?’
“Before that phone call I was 50/50 on even riding in 2015. My plan was to do the Worlds TT and then take stock on things, but that call suddenly changed my perspective.”
Flakemore’s first year with BMC started out well as he revelled in the rock-star treatment at team camp and before the Tour Down Under. But a crash while riding back from stage 2 of the Australian race resulted in a broken collarbone and the beginning of a downward spiral that culminated with Flakemore telling team director Allan Peiper that he wasn’t sure he wanted to return for another year.
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