The postponed Paris-Roubaix is set to provide a fitting farewell for classics specialist Mitch Docker as the EF Education-Nippo rider with a signature mullet hairstyle has announced his plans to retire from WorldTour racing at the end of 2021.
The 34-year-old made the announcement on Twitter, delivering the news with three photos of him from across his career headlined "3 Teams, 3 Mullets’"
“All good things must come to an end,” said Docker in the post.
“I have decided that 2021 will be my last season in the World Tour Peloton. What a blessing in disguise with Paris-Roubaix in October. The perfect race to conclude my professional career.”
The Australian rider with two wins to his name has spent the majority of his career steadfastly riding in the support of others, be it as road captain, in the closing kilometres of sprints or using his experience to guide teammates in the cobbled classics. He started racing for the Drapac-Porsche development programme in 2006, shifting up to a Pro Continental team in 2009 with Skil-Shimano and then moving onto what was then a new WorldTour team, Orica GreenEdge, in 2012.
It was when he was racing for the Australian-based team in 2016 that Docker had a horrible face first crash at Paris-Roubaix in the Arenberg Forest that made him reassess his career and contemplate giving up racing, with his injuries including a broken cheekbone, nose and teeth. However, deciding to continue on he did it with gusto, coming back at the Dauphine after a long rehab and promptly jumping clear in the opening kilometres to set off in the break of the day.
In 2018 Docker moved onto what was then Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale, initially with a one year contract, but remained with the team. He now looks set to finish at EF Education-Nippo racing Paris-Roubaix, five years after an accident at the race made him consider calling an early end to his cycling career.
The rider, who also puts out the regular podcast Life in the Peloton, has said his early connection with cycling was through the stories surrounding Paris-Roubaix, which he first raced in 2009. His final race, on October 3, will mark his 11th time on the start line as the only edition of the cobbled classic he hasn't ridden since that first race was in 2012, after he missed his run at the Classics following a crash at a January training camp.
3 Teams 3 MulletsAll good things must come to an end. I have decided that 2021 will be my last season in the World Tour Peloton. What a blessing in disguise with Paris-Roubaix in October. The perfect race to conclude my professional career. pic.twitter.com/9l76T4XxDZMay 17, 2021
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