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"Until recently I was still able to win, but that's no longer the case. I also want to spend time with my children because I have not been present father so far," Eeckhout tells Het Nieuwsblad

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14.10.2013 @ 19:49 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Nico Eeckhout era has come to an end. The 43-year-old Belgian has finally decided that it is time to quit professional cycling and focus on his family.

 

Nico Eeckhout has been a constant presence on the Belgian racing scene since he turned professional with Collstrop in 1992 but now his time as a bike rider has finally come to an end. The 2013 season will be his final one and he will bring his 21-year career to a close in tomorrow's Nationale Sluitingsprijs.

 

The 43-year-old Belgian has been with Collstrop, Lotto, Palmans and Chocolade Jacques before ending his career with 5 years at the An Post team where he has shared his vast experience with mostly Belgian and Irish youngsters. He won the Belgian national championships in 2006, the Dwars door Vlaanderen in 2001 and 2005, the overall Europe Tour in 2005 and 2006 and was for many year a perennial contender in the cobbled classics and in the bunch sprints. Despite people always expecting him to end his career, he kept prolonging his time as a professional and in the final part of his career, he was a valuable part of his last team and its mission of developing young riders.

 

"These 21 seasons as a professional have been very nice but I have realized that it was time to stop," he told Het Nieuwsblad. " Until recently I was still able to win, but that's no longer the case. I also want to spend time with my children because I have not been present father so far."

 

Eeckhout won his final race last year when he crossed the line first in the Belgian Schaal Sels semi-classic.

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