Joe Robinson

16 Nov 2020

A gentle reminder of how human these superhuman athletes really are

Dutch stalwart Tom-Jelte Slagter is hanging up his wheels at the end of the 2020 season and reminding us just how normal these superhuman athletes really are.

Because, as he brings the curtain down on his cycling career, rather than jumping in the team car as directeur sportif, slapping on some makeup to offer insight as a television analyst or taking lucrative sums of money for appearances, Slagter is going into the humble world of tractor sales.

After 10 years in the pro peloton, the Dutchman decided it was time to take on the role in the agriculture machinery department of GoreNoord, a major dealer of John Deere tractors based in the Netherlands.

‘After a career of 10 years as a professional cyclist, the time has come for me to take a new path and with a lot of ambition to focus on a new challenge. The past 10 years as a cyclist have been a great time in which I would not have missed anything. I will carry that with me forever, but now is the right time to say goodbye,’ Slagter wrote on his Instagram page.

‘I can also announce where my future lies, because I have signed a collaboration with @groenoord_bv in the position of representative agriculture machinery, in my beloved province of Groningen. I’m really looking forward to this new step and can’t wait to build on the future together. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported and followed me during my cycling career.’

The 31-year-old was an above-average professional cyclist since turning pro with Rabobank in 2011. He raced and completed all three Grand Tours, took sixth at the 2015 Liege-Bastogne-Liege and even secured big victories in his career such as the 2013 Tour Down Under and two stage wins at the 2014 Paris-Nice – beating future Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas in a two-up sprint in one of those wins.

He raced for top teams in that time too – Rabobank, Garmin-Sharp, Dimension Data and B&B Hotels-Vital Concept.

But rather than slogging away for a few more years in the ProTour peloton, Slagter wants to ‘be with the kids’ and lead a normal life. 

He now joins a long list of very capable professional cyclists who in retirement reminded us that it is very rarely a chance to kick back and reminisce over your racing career, most have to simply return to a normal life and normal job.

Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders winner Peter van Petegem deals in insurance in Gent, Tour de France stage winner Blel Kadri works in Decathlon in Toulouse as a bike mechanic, Sean Yates became a tree surgeon. Now Slagter sells John Deere tractors in the Netherlands.

A gentle reminder that no matter how superhuman these athletes look on the bike, they are all pretty human off it.

Source: Cycling – Cyclist