Gianni Meersman: 'My cycling friends are abroad, it hurts. Meanwhile, I'm sitting at home alone'

Gianni Meersman, who was forced to retire from cycling at the end of December with a heart condition, talks about the pain he is enduring watching his friends train and race abroad, while he is home alone.

Gianni Meersman wins stage five of the Vuelta a España (Watson)

(Image credit: Watson)

In an emotional interview, Gianni Meersman has revealed how much he is missing being a professional cyclist since his forced retirement due to a heart condition.

The Belgian was diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia and a scar tissue on his heart during a routine medical check last December, which doctors warned him posed a major risk to his health. The 31-year-old, who was due to join Fortuneo-Vital Concept from Quick-Step Floors, retired immediately.

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Chris Marshall-Bell

A freelance sports journalist and podcaster, you'll mostly find Chris's byline attached to news scoops, profile interviews and feature writing across a variety of different publications. He has been writing regularly for Cycling Weekly since 2013.

Previously a ski, hiking and cycling guide in a number of places, but mostly in the Canadian Rockies and Spanish Pyrenees, he almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.

He lives in Valencia, Spain.