1984 Olympic gold medalist, Alexi Grewal’s comeback to elite level cycling will take its most difficult step on March 3 when he lines up at the MERCO Credit Union Cycling Classic pb McLane. The Merco-McLane event will be his first time against top national level competition since he retired from cycling in the mid 1990s, having since only competed in two smaller level events prior to his arrival in Merced, CA. The storied Olympian has been training for months now with the goal of competing in the Quizno’s Pro Challenge in Colorado later this summer.
Alexi Grewal is an Indian American Olympic gold medalist and former professional road racing cyclist. At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Grewal became the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in road cycling. His winning bicycle is now at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. The US Bicycling Hall of Fame gave the following description of the Los Angeles gold medal ride: “With an estimated crowd of 300,000 lining the 190.2 kilometer route, Grewal edged Canadian Steve Bauer to claim the gold medal in the men’s road race, breaking away from the field with 20 kilometers remaining and opening up a 24 second lead after 11 of 12 laps and then being caught by Bauer with 10 kilometers left, setting up a dramatic final-lap showdown. This scene, replayed many times since, is one of the most emotional Olympic victories of the Modern Games.”
After his famous victory in Los Angeles, Grewal enjoyed an up and down career in cycling – racing for the Panasonic, RMO and 7-Eleven teams in Europe. He concluded his career in the United States racing for Coors Light between 1989 and 1993. He enjoyed success atop many podiums in the US and several in Europe during his career. Life after cycling continued and up and down cycle for Grewal. He became a master carpenter building homes and performing remodels with the toughest times leading him to drug use and homelessness in Colorado.
Grewal was recently inspired by his son, who is a gifted high school athlete, and took up the challenge to return to cycling. This challenge began months ago with routine training rides and has included participation in two smaller races including one in Nevada going on currently. With training time now logging into the 30+ hours per week, Grewal himself admits he is in decent shape.
MERCO-McLane will be the first real challenge for Grewal. With the opening MID Road Race offering up over 5,000 feet of climbing (March 3), followed by the difficult Merced Boosters Time Trial (March 4), a technical criterium in downtown Merced (March 5) and the long 120 mile Almond Blossom Road Race, the four day MERCO-McLane will be a defining time for his comeback.
The life story of Alexi Grewal continues to develop from road to gold in Los Angeles, to the roads of cycling gods in Europe, to the homeless encampments of Colorado and now on the road to a comeback at MERCO-McLane.