Chrissie Wellington’s Return To Politics

Chrissie Wellington accepts the award for Female Triathlete of the Year presented by TYR in 2012. Photo: Scott Draper

The spark behind Chrissie Wellington’s transition from triathlon icon to cycling activist lies in Nepal, writes Ollie Williams of BBC Sport.

Only in her late 20s did she realize her own strength and start out on the road to four Ironman world titles.

Before that, she worked for the UK government as an international environment and development adviser – a natural consequence of her masters degree in development economics.

Early lessons she learned in diplomacy are now being brought to bear on the politics of global cycling, as she launches a manifesto  calling for a women’s Tour de France. Both roles are a world away from life in Ironman.

“I’m back in a suit and not wearing lycra for six hours a day,” reflects the 36-year-old, who retired in late 2012.

“Nothing in this world can compare to the thrill of competition and the satisfaction, the exhilaration of crossing the line – in first place, especially. But this is exciting and challenging in its own way.”

Male domination in world cycling holds no fear for Wellington, who spent the early 2000s “working principally with the United Nations to negotiate, on the government’s behalf, new environment and development policy.”

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