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The Lion Still has Cycling in his Heart
By Staff
Date: 10/17/2003
The Lion Still has Cycling in his Heart

Johan Museeuw is not retiring from cycling. The 38-year old will be extending his 16-year long career with at least another spring before calling it quits. Museeuw still has to announce it himself, and until then both Museeuw and Lefevre are refusing to confirm the news, but the decision has already been made.

The Lion took up residence in a Hamiltonian hotel a week ago, together with Quick-step DS’s Lefevre, Parsani, Peeters and Crespi. With the rumour that Museeuw was going to announce the end of his career as a rider and take up a position as DS himself floating around them. But no one wanted to deny or confirm the news. Museeuw held up his mysterious taciturnity, saying that he didn’t make a decision yet, and that he still had cycling in the right place. His heart.

Lefevre was especially disgrunted at the reports saying that his rider would be retiring. He said to us he’d like to be left alone for a week. To talk about Museeuw’s future? “Maybe. But we just as well might be boarding the plane at the end of the week and not have discussed it at all. Moreover, we’re not the only ones with a say in this, sponsors have to be included as well. I wouldn’t want my sponsors to have to hear the scoop on Museeuw’s future in the papers first.”

To quit or not to quit? The question has grown evermore since Johan Museeuw’s name was tied to the doping-case around vet José Landuyt. Until that day it had been a clear cut case for Museeuw that he’d ride another spring; Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, and quit if he were to win a 4th time in one of his loved classics. If not, he’d keep on riding until the Olympics in Athens, for free. So he wouldn’t have weighed on Lefevre’s budget. “Cycling has given me so much, it’s time I gave something back”, Museeuw already said three years ago.

But then the case Landuyt surfaced, sweeping away the solid ground on which he was standing. In these given circumstances, not even Patrick Lefevre was sure it’d be a good thing for Museeuw to start a 17th pro season. "A goodbye in style doesn’t seem to be one of the options anymore with the Landuyt-case. If I were in his shoes I’d have quit”, Lefevre said. Only one left to convince was Museeuw himself then. But Lefevre didn’t manage to convince the Lion...and so he’s going on for at least another spring. Now it’s just waiting until Museeuw announces it himself. (Source: Het Laatste Nieuws)

Museeuw after the finish at Hew Cyclassics. Courtesy

Similar article in Gazet Van Antwerpen, where the reporter himself thinks Museeuw might be taking the player/coach concept to cycling next year. Some excerpts:

Museeuw: “I have already decided on my future, but I will announce it when I feel it is the right time.”

Dirk Nachtengaele (Museeuw’s soigneur and close friend): “If Johan says that he already knows what he’ll be doing, who am I to doubt his words then? I know he was planning to announce a certain plan of his the evening before Paris-Brussels. He’s been working on that idea for a year and a half now already. That fuss with the Landuyt case may have slowed things down a bit, but I don’t think that postponement meant the end of it.” (Source: Gazet Van Antwerpen)

Thanks to Jan Janssens for the translation.

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