Habeaux retires at 35 due to heart issues

Belgian to take up role with WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic

Belgian Grégory Habeaux has announced his retirement from professional cycling at 35 due to medical reasons. Habeaux suffered a tachycardia last November and despite passing necessary tests but has decided to hang up the wheels.

Habeaux turned professional with Landbouwkrediet-Colnago in 2005, going on to ride for the Jartazi team, Verandas Willems and then Wanty before joining WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic in 2015.

Habeaux's announcement comes less than one week after compatriot Michael Goolaerts, 23, died of cardiac arrest while racing Paris-Roubaix.

Australian Will Walker was also forced into retirement to his heart issues and tachycardia. Belgian Gianni Meersman was likewise forced into a premature retirement due to heart issues at the end of the 2016 season. Ramunas Navardauskas and Lars Boom are two cyclists to have successfully undergone heart surgery in recent seasons and returned to racing.

"The decision to stop was difficult but inescapable," Habeaux said in a statement from his team.

"I had an alert last November, a sudden tachycardia. I passed the exams and I received a first green light but I soon felt that I did not return to the level. I had a new weakness in Paris-Troyes, another in training on March 19. I did my breathing exercises, finished the session but I put my bike down saying "That's it, I stop".

Habeaux has joined the team in a new role at the Circuit de la Sarthe and Flèche Brabançonne and will also do so at the Tour of Croatia.

Prior to retiring Habeaux, rode Trofeo Laigueglia, Classic de l'Archede, Drome Classic and Paris-Troyes recorded a DNF on all four occasions. Habeaux finished his season at the Tour of Turkey and the one-day Sluitingsprijs Putte-Kapellen.

With the team, Habeaux became a key road captain with manager Christophe Brandt explaining the veteran's experience proved invaluable on the young squad

"Greg has made a tremendous contribution to the team as a captain of the road, he has passed on his professional cycling experience to our young riders and will continue to do so," Brandt said. "We continue to support him in this sudden shift in his sporting career, we give him time to find his way within the team. We salute his career and thank him for what he has done for our team and for what he will do again."

 

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