Niki Terpstra ended his road racing career on Sunday in less than ideal fashion after the former Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders winner had the misfortune of crashing in his final event.
The Dutchman fell during Sunday’s edition of Paris-Tours but fought to finish 128th and last, more than 20 minutes behind winner Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ).
The TotalEnergies veteran was greeted by his family as he crossed the Paris-Tours finish line on Avenue de Grammont and reached the end of a three-decade career.
A pro since 2007, when he started a four-year block with now-defunct German team Milram before racing with Quick Step (2013-2018) and TotalEnergies (2019-2022), Terpstra is reportedly considering a switch to gravel racing. His last road race, in any case, turned out to be a tough finale.
“It went well until the halfway point, but then I crashed and it hurt a bit,” said Terpstra. LIT about his very last race.
“For the first ten seconds, I thought: this is it. i said yesterday [Saturday] it was going to be dangerous, and that’s the dark side of cycling. This is unfortunately part of it. »
A former three-time national champion and a high-achieving classics rider in the middle of his career, Terpstra’s final years of career were marred by multiple crashes, with his last road victory being the Tour of Flanders in 2018.
Terpstra crashed badly in the same race in 2019 and again in the Tour de France that summer. He also suffered a heavy fall while training behind a motorcycle in 2020 after swerving to avoid geese, requiring airlift to hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion, a collapsed lung, fractured ribs and a collarbone.
He nevertheless recovered and raced with TotalEnergies for another two years, before hanging up the wheels on Sunday, aged 38.
Terpstra is expected to continue his involvement in cycling beyond his retirement from road racing, with a possible switch to gravel on cars. “But listen, I’m not done with cycling yet. Of course I will continue to race…stay tuned!” he wrote in his retirement announcement.