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.