Former Junior World Road Race champion Kai Reus has announced that he is retiring from cycling. The 31 year-old Team Roompot-Oranje Peloton rider announced the news in an interview with Algemeen Dagblad.
Reus showed great promise as a junior. In addition to winning the World title in Hamilton in 2003, he also won other races such as the Dutch TT title, the Tour de l’Abitibi and the Junior Tour of Ireland.
He signed for the Rabobank development squad and his rise continued as he won the Tour de Normandie, Thüringen-Rundfahrt and U23 Liège–Bastogne–Liège before signing for the Rabobank team.
However in 2007, Reus was training on the Col d’Iseran when he fell from his bike and slipped into a coma. He remained in a coma for a number of weeks and it would be a year before he returned to racing.
In 2009, he showed that he was getting back to his best when he won a stage in the Tour of Britain, However, the following year he was struck by more misfortune when he was diagnosed with mononucleosis.
Reus took some time off the bike before returning to the sport again in 2011 and would race in subsequent years with Cycling Team De Rijke, United Healthcare and Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team. He would go on to win stages in Mi-Août en Bretagne and the Volta a Portugal but never got back to racing at World Tour level.
He started this season with the Verandas Willems team before being signed by Team Roompot after impressing the Dutch team in some early season races.
Reus said though that a crash in the Four Days of Dunkirk was when he started to struggle. “It was the beginning of the end,” he said. “In the spring, several riders died or were injured after heavy falls. I noticed that I squeezed my brakes more. I thought ‘my family is more important than my sport'”.
He said that he is happy to hang up his wheels, which he wouldn’t have felt a year ago. “I noticed that I was happier with that thought. A year ago I did not want to stop. I did not want to say goodbye as a frustrated rider. Now I have peace with it. The circle is complete.”
“I can fight back myself thanks to all the people who stood behind me. I’ve been in a very deep hole several times in my life, not only from a sporting perspective but also from the human side. I have fought for myself out there, and it’s the most beautiful victory of my career.”