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Westra looks to overcome his depression, win court cases

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Lieuwe Westra (Astana) wins Three Days of De Panne

Lieuwe Westra (Astana) wins Three Days of De Panne
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Lieuwe Westra (Astana) winner of Driedaagse De Panne

Lieuwe Westra (Astana) winner of Driedaagse De Panne
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Lieuwe Westra (Astana) wins Three Days of De Panne

Lieuwe Westra (Astana) wins Three Days of De Panne
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Lieuwe Westra (Astana Pro Team)

Lieuwe Westra (Astana Pro Team)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Lieuwe Westra said that depression, lack of motivation and two on-going court cases have made it impossible for him "to fully concentrate on my pro career." The Dutch rider abruptly announced his retirement from the sport earlier this week. "I understand that for many people this came unexpectedly," he said in a statement published by his sister-in-law Wednesday evening on his Facebook page.

"I very much regret that I must end my career in this manner.

"Over the past few months I've been trying to get my motivation back to find and to overcome my depression, but with the two (legal) things that are underway now, I can't do this anymore and fully concentrate on my pro career."

Westra is involved in court cases with his former brother-in-law and his former agent, over business matters.

He said that he plans to spend time at his homes in Monaco and the Netherlands, "supported by my family, fully focus on my recovery and also on the handling of the current (legal) business. I hope this way I can overcome my depression and can again enjoy everything."

Westra, 34, had left Astana after three years and signed with Wanty Groupe Gobert for the 2017 season. The team confirmed on Monday that it had received an email from him announcing his retirement.