Belgium cyclist Jan Bakelants is putting an end to his career after fourteen seasons in the professional peloton. The 36-year-old Belgian has announced his retirement today. The rider won a stage in the Tour de France in 2013 and rode in the yellow jersey for two days in that round. “I’m quitting professional cycling. It’s official now and it’s time to let everyone know,” says Bakelants in an interview with Sporza.
Tour of 2013 highlight in career of Bakelants
Last summer, the Belgian was told by Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert that the team did not want to continue with him. Then he started thinking about his future. “It is not a hasty decision. I did not take any chances and made that decision in consultation with my family. It feels good.” Bakelants was one of the absolute trendsetters during the 2013 Tour. The Belgian raced very aggressively and was already rewarded with a victory in the second stage for that fighting spirit. The triumph en passant earned him the yellow jersey. The Australian Simon Gerrans relieved Bakelants after two days as leader of the general classification.
Not much outliers after 2013
After the 2013 Tour, Bakelants continued to win his races, but there were few real outliers anymore. The Belgian drove successively for Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator (2009), Omega Pharma-Lotto (2010-2011), RadioShack-Nissan (2012-2013), Omega Pharma-QuickStep (2014), AG2R (2015-2018), Sunweb (2019 ) and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert (since 2020).
Bakelants took his time to come to this decision. During the Tour de France of this year he got told the team wouldn’t give him a new contract. After long and hard talks with his family, Jan came to this decision. It’s tough to describe Bakelants as a cyclist. He wasn’t one of the best, but he was better than a big bunch of them. He will definitely will be missed in the peleton this upcoming year.