Belgian road pros hang up their wheels
Belgians Staf Scheirlinckx and Koen Barbe both announced their retirements today, bringing to a close respective careers of 14 and 10 years in the professional peloton.
Scheirlinckx, 34, began his career in 2000 and spent the first four years on second division Belgian teams. From 2004 through 2008 he rode for French team Cofidis and then moved back to Belgian teams for the latter five years of his career, first with Lotto (2009-2010) and then the Pro Continental Accent Jobs squad (2011-2013).
Known primarily as a domestique, Scheirlinckx has one victory in his palmares (stage 1 at the 2001 Tour de la Somme). He was a regular starter in the spring Classics with top 10 finishes at the Tour of Flanders (8th, 2011) and Paris-Roubaix (10th, 2006) the highlights of his cobbled campaigns. The Belgian started all three Grand Tours throughout his career and completed both the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana.
Scheirlinckx told Sporza that his career came to a conclusion because of the current crisis in pro cycling. "It's not good with cycling," Scheirlinckx said. "A lot of teams stopped and so there's more riders than the demand for them. That benefits the teams and the wages of riders fall.
"I did not want to ride for minimum wage rates. The decision [to stop] is not so hard and I felt it coming. There is life after cycling and I'm satisfied with my career."
Barbe announced his retirement today via Twitter, stating "I have decided with all my heart to stop cycling." The 32-year-old Belgian spent his 10-year career on Belgian teams, with the final five all with the Landbouwkrediet squad.
One year prior to turning pro Barbe was the Belgian U23 road champion and in the professional ranks his biggest win occurred at the 2005 GP Rudy Dhaenens. Like Scheirlinckx, Barbe also was a regular starter in the spring Classics with a 4th place finish at the 2006 Omloop Het Volk his best result.
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