Thor Hushovd (BMC Racing), the 2010 road world champion and a two-time green jersey winner, announced Friday he will end his career at the end of 2014.
The 36-year-old Norwegian has struggled with results since 2012, and said he will hang up the cleats for good at the UCI Road World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain, on September 28.
“I’ve been knocked back by the mononucleosis virus,” Hushovd said at a press conference Friday. “I kept pushing myself, and I had occasional flashes, but I was also down physically and mentally. Then I asked, why keep pushing on? I finally said enough is enough.”
Hushovd said a virus zapped him in early 2012, and he hasn’t been the same since.
“I woke up with a fever in March 2012, and that’s when my nightmare began,” he continued. “I laid in bed for two and a half days.”
Hushovd has had an illustrious career, winning the under-23 version of Paris-Roubaix and the U23 world time trial title before turning pro in 2000.
He spent nine seasons in the Credit Agricole jersey, when he established himself as a rugged sprinter capable of climbing as well as performing in the northern classics. He won 10 individual stages at the Tour de France and the points jerseys in 2005 and 2009.
A superstar in Norway, Hushovd was a key member of the startup Cervélo Test Team in 2009-10, and rode for Garmin-Cervélo in 2011, when he wore the yellow jersey for more than a week. That would be his final Tour appearance.
His high point came in 2010 when he won the road world title. In 2012, he joined BMC Racing in a high-profile contract, but has struggled to recover from his illness.
Hushovd abandoned the Critérium du Dauphiné earlier this month, signaling that things were not right. BMC later did not include him in its Tour de France lineup.
Hushovd will skip this weekend’s Norwegian national championships, and will complete his final season with the Wallonia tour, the Tour of Poland, and Tour of the Arctic before the road worlds in Spain.