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VN ticker: Van Avermaet wins for first time in three and a half years, Polanc retires with heart problems

Here's the news making headlines on Monday, May 15.

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Greg Van Avermaet topped the podium for the first time in three and ahalf years this weekend.

The retiring Belgian won the small-group sprint at Boucles de l’Aulne-Châteaulin on Sunday to claim his first victory since the GP Montreal in 2019, and his first since he joined Ag2r-Citroën.

“I am very happy. There is emotion. Winning is a really special sensation and it had been a long time since I had raised my arms. This is what we are all looking for when we start a race,” Van Avermaet said Sunday.

Van Avermaet, 37, confirmed earlier this month that this would be his last season in the pro peloton.

The past years have seen him shunted out of the classics spotlight by the likes of Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel and left him short in his lifelong quest to win the Tour of Flanders.

Victory this weekend ensures Van Avermaet enjoys at least one victory in what will be his swansong season.

“Since the beginning of my professional career, I have done my job 100 percent at every moment. The last few years have not been simple but I have always remained motivated. I am very happy to raise my arms for the first time with the Ag2r-Citroën team jersey, it’s a nice way to thank them,” he said.

“I have a few races left before the end of my career and I still want to get results. It gives me confidence.

Jan Polanc retires with cardiac issues

Jan Polanc announced Monday he would retire.

The 31-year-old made the call to end his racing career at the age of 31 after irregularities were discovered during routine cardiac scans in the winter of 2022.

The Slovenian has not raced since last October.

“It’s obviously not the way I hoped to end my career as a rider, but when I look back I think I can be very happy,” he said Monday.

“I have been in professional cycling for 10 years and with UAE Team Emirates since the very beginning of my career and have shared some amazing moments with them. I hope to continue in this family in some capacity on the road ahead.

“I am looking forward to the future as there are a lot of other beautiful things happening in my life at the moment and I feel very grateful for that and for everything we have already achieved.”

Polanc has two stage wins at the Giro d’Italia at the top of his palmarès, and was part of the team that helped Tadej Pogačar win the 2020 Tour de France.

“In the case of Jan we spent many months seeking advice from our medical team and some of the finest specialists in the world and the final decision was made that it was time to stop for the good of his own health. Jan has been an asset to our team since the beginning and we are very proud of what he has achieved with us over the years,” team principal Mauro Gianetti said.

“Our team and organization is always expanding and we hope we can work towards finding a new role for Jan in the future.”

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.