Rabobank's Michael Boogerd is retiring at the end of the season, he announced Thursday, but added, "It's not over yet. I am still very motivated to have a couple of beautiful moments in Amstel Gold Race, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Tour de France......"
The 34-year-old has 52 wins so far in his 14 seasons. He said that he chose this point in time, just before Amstel, to announce his retirement because, "I have always had a special bond with that race, as well as with Liège-Bastogne-Liège." He won Amstel in 1999, and has finished in the top ten each year for the last nine years, and in the top five the last five years. And in those same nine years he has finished in the top five in Liège-Bastogne-Liège seven times.
Boogerd has been named Dutch Cyclist of the Year in 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003 and 2006, and won the national championship in 1997, 1998 and 2006. He is especially proud of his two stage wins in the Tour de France. He has started that race 11 times, finishing 10 times, and finished fifth overall in 1998 and tenth in 2001.
"Michael Boogerd is still a fantastic athlete. I love to watch him race, because with him it comes straight from the heart," said team manager Theo de Rooij. "For Dutch cycling in general and for the Rabobank Cycling Teams more in particular it is a pity that the era comes to an end. ‘Boogie’ has given a lot to Dutch cycling."
It wasn't a sudden decision, Boogerd said. "I felt this decision was coming. I'm no longer 29 years of age. I want to avoid the moment where I have to learn to deal with dissatisfying results. This is not a dramatic decision. It has to end someday anyhow. Besides. It is not over yet."