Bart De Clercq will say goodbye to his professional cycling career at the end of the 2019 season. The 33 year old Belgian rider represents the Wanty-Gobert colours since 2018. During his nine year long professional cycling career he won stages in the Tour of Italy and the Tour of Poland. The climber, in search of his best feeling since a bad crash in January 2018, looks back with gratitude to his career rich of memories.
Bart De Clercq:
"I had the chance to live my passion for almost nine years. I started racing late, at the age of 22, without higher ambitions. Later, I received the chance to become professional with Lotto, before joining Wanty-Gobert in 2018."
"Unfortunately this period started badly. I crashed on my second day in my new colours, January 2nd, with a broken hip as a result (movement of the femoral neck). Thereafter, I lived a difficult year, with several operations and ultimaltely a hip replacement."
"My return to racing, in the Tour of Oman, was rather positive. Unfortunately, I suffered from pain in my other leg, without prosthesis, shortly after that. Despite numerous medical examinations, we didn't find an explication. But I continued working, hoping to be selected for the Tour de France. During the Dauphiné, it was frustrating to realize I was only able to perform at 80% of my capacities."
"Since then, I had to accept that a miracle to solve the problem won't come and that I'll have to turn back to 'normal life' as from next year. I hope to use my master degree in physical education and my experience as a professional athlete for my reconversion. It is a pity to end my career in this way, but I keep excellent memories after all these years. It was a nice chapter of my life, but time has come to start the next one..."
Hilaire Van der Schueren (sportive director):
« We attracted Bart De Clercq in the team to shine in the high mountains with Guillaume Martin and Xandro Meurisse. Unfortunately, his crash on January 2nd 2018 took his chances of success away. Despite of many setbacks, Bart always showed a drive without limits, by sacrificing himself for the team. This role model for athletes had to resign himself to end his professional career. I hope he stays in the cycling world, after quitting the peloton on a down note."