Kevin Van Impe retires with immediate effect
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Friday, March 23, 2012

Kevin Van Impe retires with immediate effect

by Shane Stokes at 6:34 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Vacansoleil DCM rider ‘feels relief’ to walk away from cycling

Kevin Van ImpeLucien Van Impe’s nephew Kevin came from a family linked to the world of professional cycling, but the Belgian has expressed relief to be able to walk away from that and to start a new life.

The Vacansoleil DCM rider and his team have confirmed that he is quitting the sport, ending his career right away.

At 30 years of age he could have continued for several more years, but it is clear that his heart isn’t in it any more. "It feels like a relief for me now the decision is made.,” he said. “I am very pleased with the support of the team in recent months and the fact that they respect this choice.”

Belgian under 23 time trial champion in 1999, Van Impe turned pro with the Lotto-Adecco team in 2002, and then raced with Chocolade Jacques in 2005 before moving to Quick Step Innergetic at the end of that season.

He spent six years alongside Tom Boonen in that team, then switched to Vacansoleil DCM over the winter.

During his eleven year pro career, he won the 2009 Dwars door Vlaanderen and the 2005 Omloop van het Houtland, took a stage win and the overall in the 2006 Circuit Franco Belge and was also runner-up to Serge Baguet in the 2005 Belgian road race championships.

Vacansoleil DCM team manager Daan Luijkx has no hard feelings about the decision. "Kevin came to us this winter to assist the leaders in the spring Classics. It is unfortunate that he cannot fill that role, but what’s more important is that he feels good as a person. I think it’s wise that he dares to take this decision, and I wish him all the best with his family.”

The precise reason for Van Impe’s dissatisfaction is not yet clear. However he always had some degree of pressure because of his uncle’s highly successful career. Lucien Van Impe won the 1976 Tour de France and also took the King of the Mountains title on six occasions. He also won nine stages.

In March 2008 Van Impe’s newborn son died, having had a premature birth. The rider was making funeral arrangements for the infant when out of competition testers turned up and demanded that he provide a sample.

The situation led to Flemish minister for sport Bert Anciaux saying that he regretted what had happened. Van Impe’s fellow pros staged protests at Paris-Nice and Tirreno Adriatico over the insensitive treatment.

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