Jurgen Van den Broeck will retire at the end of the 2017 season despite having a two-year contract with current team LottoNL-Jumbo. The 34-year-old, currently racing the Giro d'Italia, announced via team release that no longer has the desire to compete.
"I listen to my body and heart. You can only be a professional cyclist if you go for it one hundred percent. It becomes more and more difficult to achieve that and to be away from home that much," said Van den Broeck.
The Belgian turned professional in 2004 with US Postal Service before moving to the Predictor-Lotto squad in 2007. He spent several years with the Belgian team, where he made his name as a Grand Tour contender, finishing third at the 2010 Tour de France and fourth the following year. He moved on to Katusha for 2016 before making the move to LottoNL-Jumbo.
"I feel at home at Team LottoNL-Jumbo. My current supportive role suited me better over the years. I'm very grateful that the team has thought about what’s the best for me," he added.
At the Tour de Romandie last month, Van den Broeck told Cyclingnews that "I know that since my big crash in 2013 I'm not capable of doing the things that I did in the past."
He explained that the move to LottoNL-Jumbo was one to extend his career after suffering his knee injury and was enjoying the experience of riding for teammates such as Steven Kruijswijk.
"I know that I can still be there to help guys. It's less pressure but I love riding my bike and know that I can still do a job," he told Cyclingnews. "I broke my knee and it's not been the same since then. There were a lot of years of fighting and it wasn't the same. At one point I had to deal with that and then find another focus. I wanted to put away the pressure and find another role."
Sports director Merijn Zeeman explained that he hopes the Belgian can enjoy the Giro and ensure he has fond memories of his outing at the Corsa Rosa.
"Jurgen can look back on a beautiful career. He can be proud of that. I admire his honesty in this case," Zeeman said. "We talked a lot and came together to this decision. His focus remains on the Giro d’Italia and his supporting role in that race. A successful Giro d’Italia will highlight Jurgen’s very last season as a cyclist."
After 12 stages of the Giro d'Italia, Van den Broeck sits in 92nd place, but it's the 12th place overall of Kruijswijk that he will be most concerned with improving before the Milan finale on May 27.