Gert Steegmans has announced his immediate retirement from professional cycling today. The 34-year-old Belgian steps away from the sport after 13 years as a pro.
Steegmans asked the management to be relieved of his contract and cites an absence of purpose to come back after several crashes and injuries as the cause. “I have been playing with the thought of retirement since my crash in Driedaagse De Panne, when I ended up in an ambulance for the second time in three days,” said Steegmans, who also crashed hard in Gent-Wevelgem two days earlier. “Then I was a week off the bike and started in Paris-Roubaix, which ended in another crash for me.”
“One year ago I also considered retiring, but then Trek came along. I am thankful to Luca (Guercilena) for the chance he gave me last winter. He gave me an opportunity when I found myself without a team and I was hungry for a ride. I was brought in to add strength to the Classics team and to watch over the young sprinters in the team - and I was very motivated to do well and prove my value.”
I have been playing with the thought of retirement since my crash in Driedaagse De Panne, when I ended up in an ambulance for the second time in three days.
“The first part of the season was disappointing. It already started with a broken toe in Mallorca in January. Racing the Tour of Qatar was a bad decision, but I was the one who had insisted. From there on I struggled from injury to crash to injury. It never stopped,” he continued.
“This sport has given me so much. I consider myself a lucky guy to have had so many lifetime experiences to cherish. I had a lot of fun along the way and met a lot of very nice people. That’s what I take away from this. I don’t like looking back much, I prefer looking forward.”
Steegmans’ biggest wins are in one-day events, or individual stages, where his strong finishing sprint played into his victory. He most notable wins are the final stage of the 2008 Tour de France on the Champs-Élysées, but also his Tour de France stage win into Ghent in 2007.