Loes Gunnewijk calls it a dayMon 25 May 2015
After much perseverance, ORICA-AIS road captain Loes Gunnewijk has decided to advance her retirement, signing off from racing effective immediately.
In February, Gunnewijk announced her plans to retire from professional racing at the end of the season but continual frustration courtesy of a shoulder injury suffered last year has seen the decision brought forward.
“I cannot do things by halves or on 80%, that’s not my style and I didn’t have the feeling that I could get back to my old level,” Gunnewijk said. “It’s all or nothing for me so I thought I would bring it earlier. It’s time to stop.”
“It was not an easy decision. I worked really hard from last July to come back from my broken shoulder, I made it back into the bunch and was also trying to get my own level back again over the spring. In the end I couldn’t do my job at the level I wanted to, and was used to doing, and that frustrated me a lot.
“Of course it’s not the way you want it to end, but it’s a good decision. After 14 years at a really high level I saw too less of myself in the races and that took the fun out of it.”
The 2010 Ronde Van Drenthe World Cup winner joined ORICA-AIS in 2012 and has since enjoyed success at the 2012 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad-Vrouwen, 2014 Santos Women’s Cup and was a key member of the team that won silver in 2012 and bronze in 2013 at the team time trial world championships.
The 34-year-old, who notified her teammates during the recent team camp in Tuscany, will jump on the bike for one last time to celebrate her departure from a sport she has contributed so much to.
“The plan is on June 28 we do a fun ride in the morning at my local club,” Gunnewijk explained. “It’s in the area where I grew up and will be on my favourite training roads.”
“When we come back there will be a small criterium with all kinds of riders; old teammates, teammates from now and colleagues. That will be my final time pinning on the numbers.
“I think it will be awesome. The fun ride will support a foundation I am an ambassador for and hopefully people will come out for it so I can say thank you for helping me perform at such a high level for such a long time, because I never did it alone.”
As the founding member of the ORICA-AIS team back in 2012, and a true leader for all involved, Gunnewijk will be a sorely missed character in the Australian outfit, both on and off the bike.
“Loes has been a member of ORICA-AIS since its inception, in fact she was the first rider ever recruited,” sport director Gene Bates said. “Since then she has been our ever-reliable captain both on and off the bike.”
“She will be greatly missed by the all girls and by the staff, but her decision is a testament to the dedication, expectation and attitude she has used to lead his team over the past years.
“In that way, her influence will continue to benefit this team, and no doubt will lead her to more success in her adventures post racing.”