Former Swedish mountain bike champion Fredrik Kessiakoff has announced his retirement from cycling after failing to secure a new contract for next season. The 34-year-old also cited health problems as a contributory factor in his decision.
“It is today with no regrets that I am announcing my retirement from professional cycling,” he wrote on his personal website. “After two years filled with injuries and health problems I have failed to find a team for 2015 on a level that I find inspiring and I therefore think it is the right time for me to move on.
“I would like to take this opportunity to especially thank my girlfriend Maria for her endless support, sacrifices and encouragement, Gustav Larsson for never saying no to training and my family for always being there. Thank you also to my fans, sponsors and teammates.”
Kessiakoff began his career as a mountain biker and won his first national championships in 2004 and went on to win the title a further two times. He took a career best finish of third at the 2006 mountain bike World Championships in Rotorua Bay, New Zealand. Kessiakoff made the switch to the road in 2009 with the Fuji Servetto team, quickly making his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d’Italia. He moved to Garmin-Transitions a year later before joining Astana in 2011.
2013 proved to be Kessiakoff’s best season on the road, with a stage win in the Vuelta a España and Tour de Suisse time trials and eight days in the Tour de France’s king of the mountains jersey. However, the last two years have seen him end the season without a victory.
“I look back on a 15-year long journey with the bronze medal at the 2006 MTB Worlds, the MTB World Cup race victory in Maribor 2007, winning the Tour of Austria overall 2011, wearing the polka-dot jersey at the 2012 Tour de France and the stage win at the Vuelta España 2012 as highlights.
“I am looking forward to a second career. Exactly what that is, is still to be discovered.”