UAE Emirates rider Alexys Brunel retires from professional cycling at 23

The young French rider is leaving the sport to focus on other challenges in life

Alexys Brunel
(Image credit: Getty Images)

UAE Team Emirates rider Alexys Brunel has announced his decision to retire from professional cycling at 23-years-old, stating he wants to focus on different pursuits in his life. 

The Frenchman turned professional in 2019 with Groupama-FDJ Continental Team, before making the step up to the WorldTour team the following year, where he spent two seasons. Brunel then made the switch to UAE Emirates at beginning of 2022, however, he has decided now is the right moment to call time on his career. 

“I’d like to thank everyone at UAE Team Emirates for the opportunities and support they have given me," Brunel said. "It’s been a pleasure to be part of this great team but it’s now time for me to turn a new page and to focus on new challenges and experiences in my life.”

He further explained on Instagram (opens in new tab) what these new challenges entail, which will start imminently with a race in a different sport on Sunday. 

"We meet again for new adventures, with this weekend my participation in the Ironman 70.3 in Nice," he announced.

An accomplished junior rider, Brunel won the European Junior Road Championships time trial in 2016 and the Gent-Wevelgem Juniors the same year. He also became the French U23 time trial champion in consecutive years in 2017 and 2018, too, before winning the 2019 Paris-Tours Espoirs.

Brunel's only professional victory came on the opening stage of the 2020 Étoile de Bessèges - where he finished third overall. The Frenchman's last start for UAE Emirates came at the Tro-Bro Léon in May, though he failed to finish the UCI 1.Pro race. 

UAE Emirates CEO and team principal, Mauro Gianetti, said he was sad to see Brunel leave the team, but that he was supportive of the decision. 

 “We still believe that Alexys has huge potential and we saw glimpses of that already in the first part of this season," Gianetti said. "But we are talking about human being and not just a bike racer and we fully accept his decision to stop his career as a professional cyclist. We wish Alexys all the best in his future endeavours."

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Staff Writer

Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.