Maaskant ends cycling career

Dutch rider Martijn Maaskant has called an end to his professional cycling career, his management company announced today. The 31-year-old who placed fourth in both Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders said that he struggled to regain his top form after a crash in the 2011 Paris-Nice.

''Since my fall in 2011, I have tried to get back to my old level. I have done everything and given my all, but now I must accept that I can no longer get to the level I need to be at the top of the sport," Maaskant said.

Maaskant moved to the WorldTour with Garmin in 2008 after a dominant season with the Rabobank Continental team that included victories in the Tour de Normandie and Ronde van Drenthe, and seemed to confirm his promise when he came fourth in Paris-Roubaix in his first attempt at age 24. The next year he was fourth in the Tour of Flanders.

His career ground to a halt after a stage 7 crash in the 2011 Paris-Nice on the Cote de Gourdon left him with seven fractured ribs. He stayed on with Garmin-Sharp through 2013 before moving to the Pro Continental UnitedHealthcare squad this year, but he has not raced at all since April.

"Despite the injuries and the problems of the last few seasons, I am still proud of my professional career," Maaskant said. "I've ridden for big teams and competed at the highest level for the victory, and in the races I dreamed of as a little boy. I'm looking forward to the future and wonder what my second career will bring. My future may lie in cycling, but it may be beyond that, too. I will take some time to discover it.''

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