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Reus takes time off from cycling, return is questionable

Dutch rider Kai Reus (Rabobank) will get another day in the leader's jersey.

Dutch rider Kai Reus (Rabobank) will get another day in the leader's jersey. (Image credit: Gerry McManus)

Kai Reus is taking a one-year leave of absence from cycling, and it is not known whether he will return at all, Rabobank announced Tuesday afternoon. General manager Harold Knebel said that the team was willing to give the 25-year-old time to consider his future.

Reus suffered serious head injuries in a training crash in July 2007, which led to him being placed in an induced coma for 12 days. He did not return to racing until September 2008. In 2009 he won a stage at the Tour of Britain and wore the leader's jersey for three days.

This season he was diagnosed with mononucleosis and has ridden very few races. His last race was the Tour of Austria in early July, which he abandoned on the third stage.

"Kai said a few months ago that he had doubts about his future," Knebel said. "I advised him to think about it in peace. Kai subsequently went to America and after his return, said he had his affairs lined up. He wanted to quit. Of course it is a very difficult and emotional decision."

As to whether Reus might return to racing, Knebel said, "For Kai himself it is difficult to gauge where it goes. He must now choose what to do." The team will stay in contact with him. "There will always be a special relationship with Kai. He can always count on our continued support."

Technical director Erik Breukink called it "a difficult but courageous decision". He added that it was "not surprising, because it was a long process. He no longer had the level of last year in Britain. You have to live and give everything at the highest level. After all these setbacks, he can no longer do that."

Breukink concluded, "Cycling will lose a great talent, but it is especially important that he personally finds the best new way. Kai will step back and get back to peace."