Gaudin announces retirement from professional cycling

Damien Gaudin
(Image credit: Getty)

Damien Gaudin has announced his retirement from cycling after fourteen seasons as a professional. The 35-year-old raced for TotalEnergies in 2021, when he finished second at Nokere Koerse, but his contract was not renewed at the end of the season.

A strong rouleur with a track background, Gaudin won six races as a professional, most notably the prologue of the 2013 Paris-Nice and the 2017 Tro-Bro Léon. In 2013, he also rode to a fine 5th place at Paris-Roubaix, a race he had won as an under-23 rider six years previously.

Gaudin spent his amateur career with Vendée-U before graduating to the professional ranks in 2008 at Bouygues Telecom. He would remain under Jean-René Bernaudeau’s management for the first six seasons of his professional career, when he mixed road and track racing.

He was part of the French team pursuit squad that placed 5th at the Beijing Olympics and he went on to win the French individual pursuit title on three occasions.

Gaudin enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2013, claiming his first professional win on the road in the 2.9km time trial in Houilles on the opening day of Paris-Nice. Two weeks later, he landed Cholet Pays de Loire before capping a fine Spring with an aggressive showing at Paris-Roubaix.

At season’s end, Gaudin left Bernaudeau and Europcar for AG2R La Mondiale, but he never scaled the same individual heights in his three seasons at Vincent Lavenu’s team, though he did make his Tour de France debut with the squad. Gaudin enjoyed a return to form, however, when he dropped to Continental level with Armée de Terre in 2017, when he won Tro-Bro Léon and the prologues of both the Tour of Luxembourg and the Tour of Portugal.

Those results earned Gaudin a return to Bernaudeau’s team, now racing under the Direct Energie banner, and he again won the Tour of Luxembourg prologue in 2018, when he also made his second Tour de France appearance.

TotalEnergies will undergo something of an overhaul in 2022 with the arrival of Peter Sagan from Bora-Hansgrohe, together with Daniel Oss, Maciej Bodnar and Juraj Sagan. Gaudin was not offered a new contract at the end of the 2021 season and he has opted to call time on his professional career.

In a video posted to social media on Wednesday, Gaudin displayed the jerseys he had worn and medals he had won during his career, and he thanked his team managers for their faith over the years.

“At the end of this year 2021, I announce that I put an end to my career as a professional cyclist. A big thank you to all of you for having followed and encouraged me during all these years,” Gaudin wrote. “Thank you to Jean-René Bernaudeau, Vincent Lavenu and David Lima Da Costa for their trust and thanks to the three clubs that supported me: Beaupréau Vélo Sport, Vélo Sport Valletais and La Roue Libre Andrezéenne. Thanks also to the different selectors for the beautiful adventures in the French road and track teams.”

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