Velits retires from Quick-Step after 11 years as a pro

Slovakian says 'Better a little too early than too late'

Martin Velits will call it a career after the upcoming Tour of Guangxi. The 32-year-old Slovakian announced the news via a statement on the Quick-Step Floors website as he nears the end of his sixth and final season with the squad.

"I don't want to postpone my retirement to the day where I don't want to ride a bike anymore. I want to stop while I am on a good note, when I am still enjoying riding my bike but also want to try other things in life," Velits said. "I weighed the pros and the cons, but there was really never any doubt. Better a little too early than too late, leaving you bow out in a state where I don't want to touch the bike anymore. I think now is the perfect time to stop."

A big engine with a knack for time trialing, Velits occasionally hunted stages and smaller stage race GC results early in his career before transitioning to more of a domestique role in recent years. He spent several seasons riding alongside his twin brother Peter Velits before the latter retired last year.

Martin acknowledged that his brother's retirement 'played a factor' in his decision to call it quits.

"We have always trained together and even raced together when we were both on Quick-Step Floors. We always tried to find the time to train together when we were both home but after he stopped that has been almost never," he said. "It started to become lonely without his company. I mean, it isn't that it is impossible to train without him, but there were missing something after so many years where we trained together."

Velits pointed to the Quick-Step environment – referencing the 'Wolfpack' – as what he'd miss most, while also listing a few of the things he's happier to leave behind.

"People know each other so well. That is the one thing I will really miss when I stop, the team and everybody around it," he said. "The races, the many travelling days, being on the start line with a lot of pressure that comes with it, the training and making sure you are on top of your game throughout the year, that is not something I will miss, to be honest."

In any case, Velits has one WorldTour appearance yet to make before he hangs up the wheels: the inaugural edition of the Tour of Guangxi.

"I've raced in China during my debut pro season, making my first outing in a race outside Europe, and it will be nice to close out my career there with Quick-Step Floors!"

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