Thor Hushovd (BMC) has announced his retirement from cycling at the end of this season. The Norwegian rider said that he has been suffering with mononucleosis for some time and will hang up his wheels after the World Championships this September. The illness not only knocked him back physically, but mentally too.
“I've been knocked out by a virus that is a mononucleosis virus. I have pushed myself with the virus in the body. I've had some flashes, occasionally. It made me want to ride. But I've been too far down physically and mentally occasionally,” he told the assembled media at a specially conveined press conference.
“Then came the questions some of you have asked me. Why bother with this, Thor? That is the question I asked myself. Then I found out that enough was enough.”
Hushovd, who turned professional in 2000 with Crédit Agricole, says that the decision is one he’s been thinking about for some time. “Cycling is not the most important thing in life,” he said. “Not everything in life you can plan and calculate. This decision I took too long ago, very long ago.
“On March 12, 2012, I woke up with high fever. I lay in bed for two and a half days. That's when my nightmare began.”
The press conference began with a video that re-lived some of Hushovds defining moments. During his 14-year career, Hushovd has won 14 Grand Tour stages – 10 at the Tour de France, 3 Vuelta a España and 1 Giro d’Italia – and claimed the Tour’s green jersey.
His biggest victory came in 2010 when he took the World Championship title in Geelong, Australia, winning from a late break. The Norwegian has also won his national road race and time trial three times each. One victory Hushovd never managed to win was Paris-Roubaix. His best finish was second to Fabian Cancellara in 2010.
Hushovd will not ride the Tour de France.