“A new chapter in my life has started after 16 years as a professional, spending most of my waking hours training and preparing. It was very emotional and I consider myself fortunate. I get to retire from a team that I love as a happy man without any bitterness or mixed feelings about my decision. It is not everyone that gets to do that.
Giro di Lombardia was a good way to end it all. Many of my colleagues came and greeted me, Bjarne held a speech in the bus before the race and I rode with my teammates for the last time. Unfortunately, I had food poisoning on the day of Lombardia, so I was physically drained and had to stop after 150 kilometers.
But it was very sentimental. I got my last massage, my last pre-race meal, my last shower in the bus and all the things you normally don’t think of as being something special”.
As a cyclist you’re trained to focus on the finish line. So I’m, of course, really proud of my victories, especially the one in the Tour that stands out as the pinnacle of my career. But I’m just as happy to have been a part of an amazing team for so many years. I’ve made close friends with both staff and fellow riders, not to mention Bjarne, which has taught me so much.
If I can choose, I’ll never ride 200+ kilometers again. You never know, but I don’t think that I’ll become one of those super fit former riders. I’ve been on my limit so many times that I think I prefer to take it easy for a while”, Nicki says with a grin after having been retired for three days.
I want to thank my wife, who’s always been right by my side, I also wish to thank Oleg for keeping me on the team so I could have a final season. And then I have to say a gigantic THANKS to Bjarne for his friendship."