Thor Hushovd is getting ready to say goodbye to pro cycling, admitting that "it was difficult to accept that it was time for me". The BMC rider still hopes to be named in the Norwegian world championships team to top off the end of his career.
On Friday, he placed second on stage 2 of the Arctic Race of Norway, a race which he won last year. He is still thronged by fans seeking his autograph. "They see me as a person who made cycling big in this country. I am proud to be that role model," he told De Telegraaf.
The Norwegian's career has been very up and down the last few years. 2010, riding for the Cervelo Test Team, was his really big year, when he won stages at both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana before going on to claim the Worlds road title.
Cervelo merged with Garmin for the 2011 season, and Hushovd won two individual stages at the Tour and wore the leader’s yellow jersey for over a week.
From there, however, things went south. He moved to BMC and his health suffered. "It was difficult year. I felt weak. I felt that the human body had a battery that could be drained and that I had come to that point." It was later found that he was suffering from a virus that caused inflammation of the muscles.
He bounced back in 2011, taking nine wins, but was unable to come even close to that level this season. In 2014 he can only look back on second places in stages at three various races.
After hearing that his contract with BMC would not be renewed, he first planned to look around for a new team, but finally decided it was time to call it quits. "I love this life as a cyclist, you just do not give up. When I made that decision? I'm going to tell you in my book, which comes out in October. It was at least during a time of suffering during a race."