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VN news ticker: André Greipel to retire in 2022, Philippe Gilbert back in action

Here's what's making the headlines on Tuesday, April 13.

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André Greipel to retire in 2022

André Greipel signaled his intention to quit professional racing at the end of next season.

The German sprinter, who turned professional with T-Mobile in 2006, told a German documentary that he didn’t want to continue into his 40s.

“My goal is that I don’t want to sit on the bike any more if there is a ‘four’ in front of my age and that is a goal I will keep,” Radsport News reported Greipel as saying.

“I don’t know what happens if I’m offered another contract, but I think I’m very good at communicating so everyone knows I shouldn’t be offered another contract.”

Greipel, 38, is currently racing on a two-year deal with the Israel Start-Up Nation team. Though he has no concrete plans for his retirement, he wants to remain in the sport.

“I definitely want to continue doing something in cycling and pass my experience on to young talents,” he said.

Philippe Gilbert back in action at Flèche Wallonne, Liège–Bastogne–Liège

Philippe Gilbert confirmed he will return to racing at the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège next week. The Lotto-Soudal rider has not raced since he failed to finish both the E3 Saxo Bank Classic and Gent-Wevelgem last month.

Gilbert was due to ride the Tour of Flanders but dropped out of it, saying that recovering from his knee injury at last year’s Tour de France had taken its toll on him.

Also read: VN news ticker: No Flanders for Philippe Gilbert

“Happy to announce that I will resume competition at Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. It will be nice to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my wins in these beautiful races! Thanks for your continued support and see you soon,” Gilbert wrote on social media.

Gilbert is one of only two riders to have won Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and the Amstel Gold Race in the same year, something he did in 2011.

SD Worx sign Hungarian cyclocross talent

SD Worx announced that 19-year-old Kata Blanka Vas will ride for the team from June 1 on a two-year deal. The Hungarian teenager has said she is taking note of Mathieu van der Poel’s exploits as she looks to balance her talents in a variety of disciplines.

“I don’t know yet whether cyclocross, mountain bike, or the road suits me best. I hope to discover that in the coming years,” said Blanka Vas. “In that respect, Mathieu van der Poel is a good example for me. He shows that up to a certain age you can combine these three disciplines and thus develop yourself further and grow into the world top of cycling.

“It feels like an honor to me that champions like Anna van der Breggen and Chantal Blaak, and many others, will soon be my teammates.”

Blanka Vas has been impressing on the cyclocross scene in recent seasons and beat Inge Van der Heijden and Sanne Cant at Gullegem in January. She has also showed promise on the road and in mountain biking, finishing sixth at the U23 European Road Championships and third at the U23 MTB World Championships.

Rising Groupama-FDJ star retires at 21

Up and coming talent Théo Nonnez has opened up about his reasons for retiring at the tender age of 21.

The former French junior national champion was in his third year with the Groupama-FDJ continental team and well on his way to securing a WorldTour contract, but said he was suffering from burnout and had lost his desire to ride his bike.

“I made this decision after a long period of reflection. I think we can call it a burnout, even though it’s rather an addition of many things that got me to this point. I am not sad to make this decision,” Nonnez said in a lengthy interview on the Groupama-FDJ website.

“My only small regret is that I did not realize all this before, and to have signed a contract for this season. At one point, I also felt like all these years were a waste of time. But deep down, I just think that was my path and that it is an experience that I should be proud of.”