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Antoine Duchesne announces retirement ahead of Canadian races

The Groupama-FDJ rider won the Canadian national title in 2018, and will bow out at Québec on Friday and Montréal on Sunday.

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QUEBEC, Canada (VN) — Antoine Duchesne will appear in his final races as a professional bike racer on home roads. It doesn’t get much better than that for a retiring pro.

The Groupama-FDJ rider tearfully announced his retirement Thursday, and will bow out at the Grand Prix Cycliste Québec and Montréal this weekend.

“I have decided to retire,” he told reporters Thursday. “I think I’ve reached the level I always wanted. Because I want to be with my family. Then because it’s time to do something else.”

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The 30-year-old local from Québec turned down a contract extension from the French WorldTour team, and decided to bow out this weekend in order to spend more time with his family.

“It’s the most beautiful of endings,” he said Thursday. “I’ve always dreamed of that, not winning races but doing my job 100 percent, on one of the best teams.”

Duschesne hails from nearby Saguenay, and raced at SpiderTech and Bontrager before joining the WorldTour in 2014 with Europcar. He joined Groupama-FDJ in 2018, and raced the Tour de France in 2016 and again in 2022.

“I am moved, but I  also feel a lot of pride when I think back to the little guy from Saguenay, who left for France at 17 with a one-way ticket and the dream of becoming a professional racer,” he said. “I never thought I would be here, 13 years later, to tell you that this dream has come true.”

Duchesne emerged as a loyal lieutenant on the road, often riding in support of team captain Thibaut Pinot.

He won one race — the Canadian national title in 2018 — and will bow out this week at Québec on Friday and Montréal on Sunday.

Antoine Duchesne, center, joins local riders Hugo Houle and Guillaume Boivin at a press conference Thursday. (Photo: GPCQM)