Thor Hushovd (BMC Racing) will compete in his last race on Saturday in Belgium at the GP Impanis-Van Petegem before saying good-bye to a 15-year professional cycling career.
“It has been a real pleasure to have Thor be a part of the BMC Racing Team in the twilight of his career,” BMC Racing’s manager, Jim Ochowicz said in a press release. “We will not soon forget the impact he has had on the sport, especially in his home country of Norway.”
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The 36-year-old won two green jerseys at the Tour de France and the 2010 World Championship road race title in Geelong, Australia. When he announced his retirement on June 27, he said that he wanted to continue through this year’s Worlds in Ponferrada, Spain, but a crash in his most recent race, the Tour du Poitou-Charentes on August 29, convinced him otherwise.
Hushovd will instead end his career at the GP Impanis-Van Petegem, a 1.1-ranked race of 195.8 kilometres around Brussels’ south. He began 15 years ago racing in Crédit Agricole’s green colours. He switched to Cervélo TestTeam in 2009 and joined his current team BMC in 2012.
‘The God of Thunder’ won the worlds title, but also became Norway’s first cyclist to wear the Tour de France’s yellow jersey and won 10 individual stages at the race. He developed from a sprinter into a cyclist for longer and more demanding races, which he proved with his 2009 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad win.
The past few years have been hard on Hushovd, though. “On March 12, 2012, I woke up with high fever. I was in bed for two and a half days. That’s when my nightmare began,” Hushovd said in June when he announced his retirement.
“I was knocked by mononucleosis. I pushed myself with the virus. I had some flashes that gave me the desire to continue, but I’ve been too far down physically and mentally. I had to ask myself, ‘Why bother?'”
Hushovd wanted to end his career with more than a crash. He told Norway’s TV2 that he wished to pin a number on his back, start a race and know that he will finish his job at the finish line.
“It is always bitter when things like [the crash and retirement] happen, but it certainly would have been as bitter if it had happened in my best years,” Hushovd said.
“I decided to look at the overall picture, which contains many good years with good results… I stand by the decision I took a few months ago. The Worlds would have been a nice ending, but you can not plan everything in life.”
Hushovd’s BMC team-mate Cadel Evans is reported to be retiring on February 1, 2015, after racing at home in Australia. Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing), who also rode in Crédit Agricole’s green colours, will retire today after attempting to beat the Hour record.
Norwegian former World Champion and double Tour de France green jersey winner Thor Hushovd will quit at end of season