Mieke Kröger has quietly concluded her career as a professional road cyclist, as she disclosed to radsport-news.com. Following the World Championships in Glasgow in August, Kröger, aged 30, requested the dissolution of her contract with the team Human Powered Health.
However, Kröger hasn’t entirely stepped away from high-performance cycling. Her focus for 2024 remains ambitious: she aims to replicate her Tokyo 2021 success in the team pursuit at the Olympics and also compete in the individual time trial in Paris.
Despite no longer being part of a WorldTour team or participating in major road races leading to the Olympics, Kröger’s path is not unprecedented. Anna Kiesenhofer won gold in the road race at the 2021 Olympics without belonging to a professional team, and Kristin Armstrong achieved her third Olympic time trial victory in Rio 2016 while being part of the US team Twenty16, although she hadn’t raced outside the USA since the 2012 Games.
Kröger expressed relief at her decision to quit road racing, explaining that the idea of not joining a professional team had crossed her mind before. She highlighted that the road gave good form but admitted that if not raced properly, it doesn’t yield the desired results. She struggled to engage mentally in recent races, leading to underperformance.
Kröger recalled the mental toll of road racing, stating that each race required significant mental exertion, subsequently impacting her recovery and training. After the World Championships in Glasgow, her dissatisfaction with road racing grew, leading her to terminate her contract with Human Powered Health.
In the interview, Kröger reflected on her career, noting that road races had always been challenging for her, with only occasional high points when in top physical form or extremely focused. She acknowledged that it was not feasible to be mentally and physically at peak for every race, resulting in road races often being a struggle for her.
Kröger’s best year on the road was 2019, marked by strong time trial performances, including a notable fourth place at her first Elite World Championships in 2014 in Ponferrada. However, mass start races were generally difficult for her, barring exceptional circumstances.