Cardiac Arrhythmia forces Mario Aerts to retire early
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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cardiac Arrhythmia forces Mario Aerts to retire early

by Ben Atkins at 12:53 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury
Belgian also cites the separation of Omega Pharma-Lotto team sponsors as a factor in his decision

mario aertsMario Aerts (Omega Pharma-Lotto) has taken the decision to finish his career at the end of the season, a year earlier than planned, according to Het Laatste Nieuws. The Belgian has suffered from a cardiac arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat, for a number of years, which has become more prominent this year, which has forced him to take this decision.

Aerts was due to undergo surgery to fix the problem at the end of April, but the procedure was deemed unnecessary.

As well as his cardiac problem, Aerts cited the decision of the team’s secondary sponsor, which has backed the team since the mid-80’s, to split and set up its own cycling project from 2012.

“The separation in the team means that my contract is not worth much more,” he said. “Especially because of my heart problems though, I have decided that I’ve had enough; one year earlier than planned.”

The 36-year-old will ride on to the end of the season, where, he says, he doesn’t want a grand send off.

“I don’t want a party, or a criterium,” he said. “Just to ride my last race and drink a glass of champagne.”

Aerts turned professional in 1996 with Vlaanderen 2002, before joining Lotto-Mobistar – his current team’s previous incarnation – in 1998. Aside from spending 2003 and 2004 at Team Telecom, he has spent every year since with Marc Sergeant’s team.

As one of the team’s workers Aerts does not have a great list of results, but his biggest victory came in April 2002 when he won la Flèche Wallonne.


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