Fabian Cancellara may be hanging up his wheels at the end of next season, but his Trek-Segafredo teammate and fellow Classics specialist Stijn Devolder isn't thinking of following suit, even at two years older than the Swiss star.
Devolder turned 36 this summer, and the years since his back-to-back Tour of Flanders victories in 2008 and 2009 are marching on, but he told Cyclingnews that he is not considering retiring any time soon.
"I’ll see what comes my way but I hope to do another few years," he said. "I could say that I’ll go to 40 but it may be more like two or three years, I don’t know, I cant say right now, I’ll wait and see how it goes." Devolder explained that retirement has not seriously crossed his mind given the fact he has never found himself short of motivation, primarily for the spring and the cobbles.
"I actually started to think already about the Classics for next year," he says of the moment his 2015 spring came to an end with a crash at Paris-Roubaix, "but there was a whole year to go."
"I always try to make a good Classics [season], especially the cobbled Classics. Those races especially are still motivating me a lot. I just try to win another race in the spring season, and that’s it, that’s what keeps me motivated.
"I don’t have the feeling it’s physically become harder, because the motivation is still there, so you keep on going, and the feeling is the same like other years. But of course, at 36 you know you don’t have 10 years to go."
Devolder would like to right the wrongs of this season, in which team leader Cancellara missed the entire spring with a back injury. Devolder became the de facto leader but crashed at Dwars door Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix, even if he did manage an encouraging 13th at the Tour of Flanders.
"I had to work hard after that crash to have good shape for the Tour de Flanders. Then I did good Tour of Flanders but I crashed again at Paris Roubaix. I did a good spring season but I had some bad luck," he says.
"It was frustrating for me and also for the team because we lost Fabian and then I crashed again, so then the spring was totally over – it was a disappointment. But that’s how cycling goes sometimes."
In 2016 Devolder will race the Dubai Tour, the Tour of Algarve, and Paris-Nice before the cobbled Classics commence.
"Fabian will be the leader again and the goal is to win one of those races with the team. We know our job and we know how to do it," he said, before hinting at his desire to get a result for himself somewhere along the line.
"There are many chances so maybe one day I can grab my chance."