Thibaut Pinot, the esteemed French cyclist, recently concluded his professional career with a sentimental final appearance at the Il Lombardia on October 7th – a fittingly emotional farewell to a season he had declared would be his last. The 33-year-old has since exchanged the rolling hills of his beloved Franche-Comté for a holiday in Saint-Martin, swapping his bike for running shoes – a transition evident from his recent activities on a well-known sports tracking app.
Tony Gallopin, another cherished figure in the sport, received a warm public ovation at the conclusion of his final race, Paris-Tours, on October 8th. The 35-year-old looks back on a fulfilling career, with notable victories including a Tour de France stage in 2014, a Vuelta stage in 2018, and the Classic of San Sebastian in 2013.
Prominent French Cyclists Hang Up Their Wheels
Nacer Bouhanni, the 33-year-old sprinter with six grand tour stage wins to his name, three in Italy and three in Spain, has also retired. His career witnessed a decline exacerbated by frequent injuries and misfortune in recent years.
Several seasoned road captains have also bid adieu to professional cycling. Mikaël Cherel, a steadfast teammate of Romain Bardet at AG2R-Citroën, Matthieu Ladagnous, a close ally of Pinot at Groupama-FDJ, as well as Maxime Bouet and Laurent Pichon of Arkéa-Samsic, and François Bidard and Pierre-Luc Périchon of Cofidis, have all chosen to retire.
Dries Devenyns, the 40-year-old Belgian, has been celebrated by Julian Alaphilippe for his six years of protection at Soudal-QuickStep, a tenure that has forged a strong friendship between them.
Surprise Withdrawals and the End of an Era
The Australian Rohan Dennis took the cycling world by surprise with an early-season announcement of his retirement, which he followed through with in September after the Grand Prix of Quebec. Luis Leon Sanchez of Astana Qazaqstan and Daryl Impey from Israel-Premier Tech have also parked their bikes. Impey is noted in history books as the first African rider to don the yellow jersey at the Tour de France in 2013.
Peter Sagan discreetly exited the road cycling scene following the Tour de Vendée on October 1st, after a couple of frustrating seasons with TotalEnergies. The three-time world champion, with 121 career victories, plans to shift his focus to mountain biking in 2024 with ambitions of shining at the Paris Olympic Games. Jean-René Bernaudeau, TotalEnergies’ general manager, expressed to L’Équipe his sadness over the departure of a ‘wonderful and uncommonly kind’ person, despite recent underwhelming performances.
Greg Van Avermaet, the Olympic champion of 2016, has similarly experienced a marked decline in form. Recruited by AG2R-Citroën in 2021, he achieved only a single modest win at the Boucles de l’Aulne in May 2023, failing to recapture the glory of his days with BMC Racing spanning from 2011 to 2018.
Tragic Turn of Events for Van Hooydonck
Nathan Van Hooydonck’s career was abruptly halted following a heart attack while behind the wheel in mid-September, which led to the discovery of a cardiac arrhythmia and the subsequent need for a pacemaker. The 27-year-old Belgian expressed his incredible fortune for having survived and has been heartened by the support from the professional peloton.