Dutch rider Lieuwe Westra has retired from cycling his team Wanty-Groupe Gobert have announced. Westra who had signed for the Belgian team at the end of last season will leave the sport with immediate effect.

Westra turned pro with Vacansoleil in 2009 before moving to Astana in 2014. Last season, he won the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde overall to add to his GC wins in the Post Danmark Rundt (2012) and Tour De Picardie (2009). During his career, he also took stage wins in the Critérium du Dauphiné (2014), Paris – Nice (2012) and Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (2014). He was also a member of the team which helped Vincenzo Nibali take the 2014 Tour de France title.

On Sunday, a message was posted on his Facebook page which read: “Today I have decided to stop racing. I cannot afford to continue. Thanks to A Boskamp and K Snijder! Ok I stop but will go and have time to solve these issues briefly. Thanks to the cycling world ciaoooo westra”

The post was subsequently deleted which caused some confusion as to whether he was actually stopping racing. However, his team confirmed that he was today.

Jean François Bourlart, general manager of Wanty Groupe Gobert said: “Sunday evening we received an e-mail from our new rider Lieuwe Westra confirming that he puts an end to his sporting career for personal reasons. We take note of this and respect his decision.”

The rider and the team management have confirmed that they do not wish to give any further comments.

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