Bart Wellens wins © Bart Hazen

Bart Wellens, a well-established rider for Telenet-Fidea, announced his retirement today. © Bart Hazen

Two-time Elite World Champion Bart Wellens just announced  today at a press conference his retirement from racing – at the age of 36.  A drop in his results combined with his re-occuring back problems are his reasons for retiring. “I simply can no longer bring myself to continue to do all the effort to compete any longer,” explains Wellens.

Back in December, Wellens’ Telenet-Fidea team manager Hans Van Kasteren had publicly stated that Wellens should just stop with racing, so it is doubtful  Van Kasteren will take any actions regarding Wellens’ breaking his team contract a year early.

In addition, for over a year now  Wellens has been part of the doping investigation with the Leuven doctor: the same case that includes names like Tom Meeusen, Laurens Sweeck and road racer Greg Van Avermaet.  On March 13th Wellens has an appointment with the Belgian Cycling Federation’s disciplinary commission where he will attempt to defend himself against the doping charges.

He had a great series of results between 2002-2004, where he was largely considered the cyclocross racer to beat.  He was the Elite World Champion in 2003 and 2004, and in 2004 and 2007, he was the Belgian national champion.  In addition, he won the world cup overall in 2003, and the Superprestige and GVA Trofee overall in 2004.