Oliver Kaisen (Lotto-Belisol) was awarded the most aggressive rider prize for stage 2 in Beijing
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Cardiac problems puts an end to Belgian's career
Lotto-Belisol rider Olivier Kaisen has been forced to quit cycling, due to cardiac problems.
The Belgian team confirmed that the annual cardiologic examination made last November, which is compulsory under UCI rules, showed the 30-year-old was suffering from an irregular heart beat. These results were initially no cause for concern, and Kaisen began his season at the Tour Down Under. After becoming ill during stage two of the race, the Belgian underwent further tests. These made it clear that Kaisen wouldn’t be able to continue his professional career.
"Last Friday I got the news I feared was coming up; I have to quit cycling,” Kaisen said in a team statement released on Monday evening. “Of course I had rather have seen it differently, but keep on cycling isn't an option."
"I had loved to race a few more years, but I have to listen to my body and respect the conclusion of the doctors, even though this is very hard. I had never thought that someone else would decide about the end of my career."
“At the moment I'm a lot at home with my wife and son Jussi. I get lots of support from the team, friends and family, but still feel a bit lost. There are worse things in life, but cycling has been part of my life for more than 20 years. I have no idea yet how my future looks like, I only got the news a few days ago and want to let it all sink in."
Team Manager Marc Sergeant wished his former rider well and said that the team would try to help him in the transition out of professional cycling.
“In the name of myself, all staff members and all riders I deeply want to thank Oli for all generous efforts. We will do our best to assist him as good as possible during the next weeks and months and if possible to build the bridge to the next part of his life," Sergeant said.
Kaisen turned professional in 2003 with QuickStep-Davitamon-Latexco. He moved to the Davitamon-Lotto team in 2006 and became the longest serving rider of the team. However, his tenure nearly came to an abrupt halt when Sergent told the young rider that there was no room in his team. However the team manager had a change of heart and renewed Kaisen’s contract.
He spent much of his time since then at Lotto-Belisol working as a domestique for the team’s leaders. Recently, he has formed part of the formidable lead-out train for André Greipel.
Kaisen’s own successes have included a stage victory at the Tour of Turkey in 2009, first place in the U23 event at the Chrono des Herbiers and a handful of junior and U23 national time trial championships. He also finished fifth at the Tour of Beijing in 2011.
It is unclear if Kaisen’s position in the team will be filled for the remainder of the season.