Philly Bike Shop Owner Wins Track Cycling World Championship

A former Temple football player-turned-cyclist took the win in England.

Joe Wentzell, center, is all smiles after winning the UCI Track Cycling Masters World Championship

Joe Wentzell returned to Philadelphia victorious this month. The owner of Breakaway Bikes in Center City, he won a gold medal at the 2011 UCI Track Cycling Masters World Championship on October 14th, placing first in his age group, men 40 to 44. Wentzell beat 23 cyclists from around the world at the event in Manchester, England. This victory closely follows his National Championship win in August, which was held locally at the velodrome in Lehigh Valley.

Wentzell, who took up track cycling at the age of 26, says, “I’ve been an amateur my whole career,” noting that it’s rare to turn professional later in life. A former Temple football player, Wentzell once weighed in at 285 pounds. He lost 80 pounds in two years by cycling and currently clocks in at a lean 190. Though he loves road racing, Wentzell believes that he races best on the track because it suits his body type and physiology.

For Wentzell, winning the Masters World Championship was a lofty goal. “It’s so rare to set a really high goal and actually achieve it,” he says. “It was definitely shooting for the moon.”

Wentzell raced throughout the year to prepare for the championship; training—between eight and 12 hours a week—took time away from his family. While he doesn’t have the time to compete as fiercely every year, it was his personal goal to win the world championship in 2011. He did what it took.

Wentzell’s plans for the future may include another try at the national championship, which is being held next year in Colorado Springs. Right now, though, he’s “trying to just enjoy the moment” and not think about what comes next.

Congrats, Joe. You made Philly proud.