Kévin had a great four years with us. He rode this year as he had in other years, and physically he can still do everything. However, mentally, he wanted to stop.

For me, he’s retired too early. He could have continued, but his career was a little a victim of covid. Not in terms of health, but in terms of his commitment to the sport. In the weeks, months and years to come, he will understand his decision. I am a friend of his as well as his boss, and I told him to think again. It’s a decision that inevitably comes one day: you wake up and you know it’s time. Of course, one part of his decision might have been disappoint­ment that I didn’t select him for the Tour de France. That was a hard decision, and I had to do that as a boss, not a friend. But he’s a smart guy, and I think he understood it was a decision that we had to take as a management team.

I’ll miss him on the team, because he’s a great guy and he’s a big part of my life. I have great memories of the job he did for us at the Tour last year. When I first contacted him, he was on a hospital bed, and I told him I knew he could come back and that I wanted him to sign for me. He has solid values, human values, and he’ll be impossible to replace. But our door is always open to him and I wouldn’t be surprised if he came back to the team one day in the future.

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