Women's cycling has lost one of its more colourful personalities. Eva Lutz, long known for her distinctive red dreadlocks, has put an end to her career. The German rider made the decision to retire when her squad, formerly known as Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung, lost its sponsorship for the 2010 season.
“Now I just have to look for other challenges,” she told the Hannoverschen Allgemeinen Zeitung. The 30 year-old is working on her diploma as a mechanical engineer and will look to work in that field.
Lutz was at home in early December when she received the phone call telling her yacht charter company Skyter GmbH had backed out of the deal to take over the team. “Of course I had hoped for another new sponsor, but unfortunately cycling has only a very modest reputation right now.”
A witness to a reduction in the number of women's teams in the peloton over recent years, Lutz also expressed her concerns for the future for the women's professional cycling. “Womens' cycling can't be saved in the next few years. There is too little attention paid to it to notice that it is going under,” she said.
Trading oars for gears
Lutz began her athletic career as a rower, winning gold n the 1997 U-23 German Championships. She left the water for the bike in 2004, joining Equipe Nürnberger in 2006.
“Your body gets used to the strain,” she said, reflecting on her first 10-day stage race, the 2006 Women's Giro d'Italia. “But it was fun to observe, how the body and head learn to cope with it.”
Her victories were mainly in the German Bundesliga, where she won the overall title twice. She was valued as a domestique on the team, but last year enjoyed major success when she won a stage in the Ladies' Tour of Qatar.
Looking back, she is satisfied overall with her career, but added, “I would have liked to have won the German national road title, and to have stood on the podium at a World Cup race.”
Ruling out a comeback with another squad, Lutz pointed to the positive atmosphere at Equipe Nürnberger as the reason she hasn't looked for another team. “We understood each other blind,” she said.