Jeremy Roy: Winning more races wasn't my destiny

After 15 years as a pro – all on the same team – France's Jérémy Roy has finally hung up his wheels, but is in no hurry to decide on what he's going to do next.

"I haven't had time to think about it," the 35-year-old said in an interview on his Groupama-FDJ website.

"When I decided a year ago that this would be my last season, I thought I was going to have plenty of time to think about it and to decide what to do next. But then I decided that I needed to give it 200 per cent in my last year in order to be competitive, and to make sure that I didn't retire with any regrets, so I haven't come up with a plan yet. Whatever comes next hasn't been decided, although I do have a few ideas," he said.

"I don't want to put myself under any pressure. I've had that for 15 years. I now want to be able to enjoy spending time with my daughters and my wife. But I'll try a few different things to try to find out what I like and which direction I want to go in."

Roy said he thought that he was likely to miss certain aspects of life on the road as a pro, but not others.

"I'll miss cycling, so will have to make sure I still get out on some bike rides," he said. "It'd be nice to stay active and keep doing some kind of sport, but we'll have to see how much time I have, depending on what comes next.

"I'll miss the pro life – everything around the bike racing, and being with teammates, in particular, but then I may end up in a similar milieu in retirement. I won't miss staying in hotels all the time, but I will miss seeing the world, and discovering new places a little."

One option that appeared to be available to Roy was working for Groupama-FDJ's new feeder team, which will race as a Continental-level squad in 2019.

"I could have worked with them, and it would have been a good opportunity to learn, as why not consider running my own team?" he said. "I'm not sure whether that's something I may do one day."

Roy ended his career at the Chrono des Nations time trial in Les Herbiers, near Paris, in October, having helped longtime friend and teammate Thibaut Pinot to victory at Il Lombardia the day before, and to the win at Milano-Torino just a few days before that. It was a fitting, and emotional, end to a long career that has seen Roy commit to helping his teammates to win, with just four pro wins of his own, all coming between 2009 and 2012.

"Thibaut and I got to know each other very well," Roy said of his teammate, who this year appears to have matured into a rider capable of winning the biggest races.

"After my last two races [Torino and Lombardia], he had some very nice things to say about me: that his wins were victories for the whole team, after he'd insisted on me being at those races. He dedicated those victories to me, which was very touching.

"Away from races, he and I never really call each other, but then I never call anyone anyway – I just text," laughed Roy.

As for his own wins, Roy said that his first pro victory, in 2009, stands out.

"It was a stage at Paris-Nice, and the only WorldTour victory I ever took," he said of the day that he attacked from a small group and got enough of an advantage to get the better of compatriot Thomas Voeckler and Germany's Tony Martin.

"And then there was the GP La Marseillaise in 2011, which was also beautiful," he said. "The day before, I'd been the only one to do a recce of the course in the snow. In the race, I was part of a group of four, which then became three, then two, and then it was just me after I attacked on a false flat before hurtling down the descent to the finish in Gineste. It was like being an amateur again – just having fun and it working out.

"And I'll never forget my other two victories, either: a stage at the Tour du Limousin in 2012, or my win at the 2010 Tro Bro Léon, which went all the way down to the wire."

Roy, then, ends his career with great memories and no regrets, he said.

"I always tried my best, and if I didn't win more than I did, it's simply because I wasn't able to. That's life, and that was my destiny – and winning more wasn't my destiny."

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