At the age of 30, Swedish pro cyclist Thomas Löfkvist has informed his current employer IAM Cycling that he won’t consider any contract extension beyond the 2014 season. However he’ll remain in the history of the Swiss team as their first ever winner, after he claimed the overall classification of the Tour of the Mediterranean in February last year.
“When I signed my first contract as a professional cyclist for the 2004 season with Française des Jeux, I thought I’d be happy if I could have such a wonderful job for ten years. Here we are. I’m glad to announce my retirement at the end of this year.
“My decision came after I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue this summer,” he said. “I had to pull out of Tirreno-Adriatico because of an infection and I have only felt tired after that. I realized that I was not just having a bad day or a bad week. I was left with no energy. There was no way I could take part in the Tour de France or the Vuelta a España and be useful to the team. My last season has been a roller coaster with more downs than ups. My body is saying stop.
“Some people will say than I’ve over trained for my whole career,” Löfkvist continued. “What is sure is that I’ve never been under-trained. I’ve always been very serious with my cycling. Early on, my dedication to the sport has helped me deliver a lot of good results. Later on, I possibly would have achieved more if I had trained a bit less.”
The Swede impressed the world of cycling on several occasions in those ten years. “I’ve enjoyed winning the Strade Bianche, but my most memorable moment is when I got the pink jersey at the Giro d’Italia in 2009”, he said. “It was taken away from me by riders like Danilo Di Luca and Denis Menchov who I don’t envy at all for what they have achieved. I’ve chosen my teams for their ethics and I’m proud of that.”
Löfkvist successively rode for Team Bianchi Scandinavia in 2003, Française des Jeux (2004-2007), Columbia-HTC (2008-2009), Sky (2010-2012) and IAM Cycling (2013-2014). “I want to thank my long time friend and coach Michael Andersson for all those years advising me. He’s been there at the tough moments as well as the good ones. I want to thank Marc Madiot for having given me the chance to start my career.
“To win the Circuit de la Sarthe on a courageous mood for FDJ just a couple of days after I turned 20 is something I’ll never forget. I want to thank Serge Beucherie for my time at IAM Cycling. I’ve been enormously surprised by how much support I got from his staff and I feel bad that I can’t repay them with any more result. I’ve had my best years with Columbia-HTC. This was the best group of guys I’ve worked with. The team’s spirit was excellent.”
“I’m not sad to call it a career”, Löfkvist concluded. “It’s just time to move on. I’ve got ideas and projects in and out of cycling, in and out of Sweden. I also want to look after my two kids. I leave the sport with a lot of good memories. It’s been an amazing part of my life.”
Among Löfkvist’s career achievements are a national time trial title, third overall at the 2008 Tirreno-Adriatico, second overall at the 2008 Critérium International, victory at the 2009 Strade Bianche, a stage win at the 2009 Giro d’Italia and a day in the pink jersey.