Lieuwe Westra has retired from cycling despite signing a contract for the Belgian team Wanty-Groupe Gobert at the end of last season.
The 34 year old posted this message on his Facebook page: “Today I have decided to stop racing. I cannot afford to continue. Thanks to A Boskamp and K Snijder! Ok I stop but go now and I have time to solve these issues briefly. Thanks to cycling world ciaoooo westra”.
However, the post was subsequently deleted which caused some confusion as to whether he was actually stopping racing.
The Wanty Groupe Gobert team, with whom Westra had a three year deal, confirmed that Westra had officially retired, writing on Twitter: “We regret to announce that Lieuwe Westra puts an end to his cycling career with immediate effect. He retires after 8 years in pro cycling.”
A message from Westra’s sister in law Anneke Mook reads: “Last night, Lieuwe announced that he wants to stop the bike. “A choice that we very much regret because a talented cyclist, partly due to the fault of others, leaves the peloton. But it is also a choice that we, as his next of kin have to respect. Lieuwe first wants a couple of days rest and then wants to give an explanation. I hope that everyone will give him and us that time and space give right now.”
Westra is understood to suffer with depression, and first considered retirement in 2015.