Denuwelaere calls quits on 'cross career

Belgian cyclo-cross racer Jan Denuwelaere has decided to put an end to his professional racing career at the young age of 25.

"I can not do it anymore," Denuwelaere said in a press release. "I could continue to muddle through, but nobody would be well served. So I took a fair decision to put an end to my ambitions."

The Style & Concept rider is best known for being awarded the victory in last year's race in Essen at the Bpost Bank Trofee - GP Rouwmoer, when former world champion Zdenek Stybar put him into the barriers in the two-man sprint for the win and was relegated.

Yet that extreme bit of argy-bargy paled in comparison to the struggles Denuwelaere and his fellow outsiders face when attempting to earn selection for the Belgian national team in the World Cups and World Championships. In a country with a huge depth of talent, Denuwelaere fought to gain the attention of the national team coach. After five seasons of racing at the elite level, he made the World Cup selection only twice: for the Rome and Hoogerheide rounds at the end of last season. This season has been so far passed over by U23 graduate Wietse Bosmans, and didn't even make the reserve list.

"I have to start the third or fourth row, and that's not where the coach is watching. He only looks at the results of his World Cup squad. This situation strangled me," he said.

It's a catch-22 for riders like the former motocrosser, where places on the team are earned from results, but results are nearly impossible to get when you are new and lack the UCI points to earn a place in the front rows. While his compatriot Ben Berden opted to give up and race in the USA, where the fields are not as deep, Denuwelaere made the decision to call his career quits.

Denuwelaere's final race will be at the Koppenbergcross in Oudenaarde on November 1.

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