Jos van Emden retires: 'I feel like I'm ending my youth at age 38’

Jos van Emden retires: 'I feel like I'm ending my youth at age 38’

Jos van Emden will retire from professional cycling at the end of the current season. The reigning Dutch time trial champion will end seventeen years with the team. "I am very proud of everything I have achieved and happy with the life I was able to live so far”, he said.

The 38-year-old began his career with Rabobank, the forerunner of Team Jumbo-Visma, in 2008. Before that, he also spent two years with the Rabobank Development Team. Van Emden debuted in the Giro d'Italia in his second year as a professional, a race with which he would have a special relationship throughout his career. He raced no fewer than eleven times in Italy, twice in the Tour de France and once in the Vuelta a España. It was also in the Giro that he reached his sporting peak: He won the final time trial in 2017. Also on his palmares: seventeen victories, including three national time trial titles and an Eneco Tour time trial.

"All these years, I have been able to live my childhood dream”, the reigning Dutch time trial champion says. "I am very proud of everything I have achieved and happy with the life I was able to live so far. It has been a great adventure, and I have enjoyed every day. During my career in the sport, this team and I, as a rider, have developed tremendously. I have enjoyed being able to be so professional in my sport. I have never lost the fun of riding: The love of the sport, the bike and the adventure have always come first. At 38, my retirement feels like the end of my youth.”

Mathieu Heijboer coached Van Emden for much of his time with Team Jumbo-Visma. The two shared a special bond during that time. "Jos has had a wonderful career”, Heijboer recalls. "He has been a constant in the team all these years. In 2015, when things were going very badly for the team, he was one of the driving forces behind our project to take time trialling to the next level. And with success. To this day, he continues to be a tremendous asset to all our leaders: He can set up a sprint for a sprinter or keep a GC rider out of the wind and trouble for days on end. What I like about Jos: He has kept up with all the innovations and developments in the sport, but at the same time, he has remained an old-fashioned rider who does not like fuss.”

Managing director Richard Plugge echoes Heijboer's sentiments: "From day one with the team, Jos has been a highly respected force and one of the key culture bearers. He and I share a love of cycling and even rode for the same club, where that love was instilled at an early age. We will also miss Jos as a rider, as he continues to perform at a high level.”

Van Emden listens to their words with pride. He has enjoyed being part of Team Jumbo-Visma all these years, he says. "The development of the team has been excellent to experience. The team made me better, and I made the team better. It felt like a family I have enjoyed being a part of all these years. In that sense, it is exciting to take the next step now, but it had to happen at some point. Been there, done that. Symbolically it is very nice for me to say goodbye in the red, white and blue as reigning Dutch time trial champion.”

Although the decision to end his career has been made, Van Emden is looking forward to the final part of the season. He will be at the start of the World Time Trial Championships, with more races to come. His farewell race has not yet been decided. One thing is sure: "Even on 1 January 2024, when I am no longer a professional, I will still be riding my bike. The love of cycling and adventure will always be there.”

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