Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cutting It Short: When young riders take an early bow from cycling

Yesterday, it became official that former Belgian U23 RR Champion Jorne Carolus was ending his cycling career at the ripe age of 22. After suffering with muscle problems that hampered his training throughout the season, Carolus decided it was time to hang up the wheels and focus on his studies in Industrial Engineering at the University of Hasselt. His decision is quite understandable. It would be hard to continue training when you see your good friends and peers keep getting better, signing pro contracts all while you are stuck in a loop. Not everyone wants to be that 28 year old journeyman that is still looking to catch his big break. Carolus tried to his best and his body didn't cooperate. No need wracking yourself trying to find a cure when you have accepted that there is a life after cycling and you can move on. Who knows, maybe in a couple years you will see Carolus pop up again. You never know.

It was pretty sweet to see him take a win in early September after such a challenging year.
His teammates have sent out some messages about his move.

Carolus isn't the only young rider moving on from two wheels. Dane Rasmus Sterobo, just one year removed from his last U23 year, decided to hang it up in favor getting his Masters Degree in Physics and Technology to become a civil engineer. Sterobo was a big talent that put up big results in 2013 including a prologue win in the U23 Peace Race, 7th in the Thüringen Rundfahrt and 16th in the Tour de l'Avenir. He came out flat this year and seemed to be lacking the motivation for a full-time pro career. In his words, he called the lifestyle " too monotonous". He hasn't ruled out a comeback in the future.

Other young riders hanging up the bike include:

-Piero Baffi (Leopard-Trek)

-Ignazio Moser (BMC Development)

-Florent Mottet (Wallonie-Bruxelles)

-Alexander Mork (Designa Køkken)

-Jan-Niklas Droste (Heizomat)

-Mathias Rask (Giant-Shimano Development)

-Giorgio Brambilla (Veranclassics) got close to the top a couple of years ago with Leopard-Trek but never got the big contract he needed/deserved.

I always find it interesting seeing young riders walk away from the sport when they still have so much ahead of them. It makes me think, "Oh yeah, there actually is more than just cycling." Here I was thinking that the pinnacle of my life would be a cycling writer, just narrowly ahead of doctor in impoverished country and working with the poor.

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