Stuart O'Grady is emerging from his cycling exile, adamant he only doped once and relieved to take a new direction in the sport.
By
AAP

7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:35 PM

Twelve months ago, O'Grady was almost anonymous at the Tour Down Under in his home city of Adelaide - the race he won twice.

O'Grady was once the face of the event, but his doping confession immediately after his 2013 retirement meant a much lower profile.

Now one of Australia's most successful cyclists has put his name to a new business that will sell bike equipment, provide coaching and organise events for fans.

The business was launched on Saturday in Adelaide, on the eve of this year's race.

O'Grady and his wife Anne-Marie are also in the process of setting up a cycling-friendly precinct at the old Victoria Park racecourse, near the Adelaide CBD.

The only Australian to win Paris-Roubaix retired after the 2013 Tour de France and a few days later admitted taking the blood booster EPO once in the late 1990s.

O'Grady had a double-whammy - ending a tumultuous 20-plus year racing career that had brought him as much pain and glory, plus the enormous fallout from his doping admission.

"Twelve months ago, I was very anxious," he said at Saturday's launch.

"It was uncharted territory - I didn't know what to expect.

"I just wasn't happy in myself, what had happened, and certainly 12 months on, it's black and white.

"It was really important to step away for a while and take a breather."

O'Grady has seen all the internet commentary about his confession.

Given the sport's appalling track record with doping, not everyone has believed him that he only cheated once, as an experiment.

Asked about the worst of the internet trolling, O'Grady's eyes narrowed and he replied: "I normally have other names for them."

"I know what I did and didn't do.

"You're always going to have - which I'm learning - people, especially on social media who want to voice their opinion.

"You can't get stuck in the mud over a couple of quotes, or tweets, or whatever."

The Olympic champion and Tour de France star also has no regrets about no longer being involved at the pointy end of the sport.

"Every person I've come across - 'do you miss it?' - no absolutely not, not for a nanosecond," he said.

"I don't miss the actual racing - I miss being around the guys."

O'Grady said he had several offers to stay involved in pro cycling as a team director.

"I did not want to be a DS (directeur sportif) - a DS spends more time on the road than a bike rider," he said.

"If I retire, I want to spend time with my family."

Instead, O'Grady started his own business, catering to the sport's more well-heeled fans, and is looking forward to the Victoria Park community bike hub starting this year.