Jelle Wallays says goodbye to the professional peloton at the age of 34. Wallays did not receive a contract extension with Cofidis and was therefore looking for a new team, but he stopped that search. The West Flemish native announced this on Instagram on Wednesday.
“I will give myself a maximum of a month to find a new team,” Wallays told this newspaper on October 18. Barely two weeks later, the search comes to an end. Our compatriot has no longer been able to secure a contract and is therefore forced to end his cycling career.
“After 13 wonderful years as a professional cyclist, I will say goodbye to the bicycle at the end of this season,” he announces his cycling retirement. “I can look back on a wonderful career with victories in Paris-Tours (2014 and 2019), Dwars door Vlaanderen (2015) and a stage in the Vuelta (2018).
“A wonderful career with ups & downs, at many times it was a learning experience, but the fun and drive always prevailed. I have gained a lot of experience and hope to continue to share this with youth and the entrepreneurial world, inside and outside cycling.”
Wallays does not give up. “I also continue to have sporting goals, which I would like to tell you more about soon. I am also open to new challenges professionally. I continue to enjoy my B&B and coffee, but I also look forward to discovering new things. I am ready for the next chapter, after my professional cycling career.”
“I would like to thank everyone who has supported me in recent years: my family, friends, supporters, … All the people who believed in me and gave me the opportunity to turn my passion into my career. Thank you,” is how it sounds.
During his career, Wallays rode for Topsport Vlaanderen, Lotto Soudal and Cofidis. He was victorious eight times as a professional.