Two-time Olympic silver medallist and former Giro d'Italia winner Tom Dumoulin will retire from professional cycling at the end of this season, the Dutch cyclist announced on Friday.
Known as a proficient time-trialist and mountain climber, Dumoulin last month dropped out of the Giro -- Italy's most iconic race -- saying then he felt "empty and finished."
"I decided that 2022 will be my last year as a professional cyclist," Dumoulin wrote on social media, after experiencing a "difficult year" in 2020 in which he "got overtrained and burned out."
The 31-year-old Dutchman said despite coming back from the burnout to win Olympic silver in July 2021, "my body felt tired and still feels tired."
"As soon as the load in training or races gets higher, I suffer from fatigue, aches and injuries instead of improving," he said on his Facebook page and Instagram account.
"The effort in training did often not lead to the desired performances.
"For a while now there has been a disbalance between my 100 percent dedication, everything I do and sacrifice for my sport and what I subsequently get out of it in return," Dumoulin added.
Since competing professionally in 2010, the Maastricht-born Dumoulin put together a string of successes including winning the Giro d'Italia in 2017 -- an achievement for which he received a knighthood in the Netherlands.
That same year Dumoulin also won gold in the UCI Road World Championships men's time trial and team time trial in Bergen.
The year before he won a silver medal in the individual time trial at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
One of his best performances came in 2018, when he finished runner-up to Geraint Thomas in the Tour de France two months after finishing second in the Giro.
But the rider suffered a disastrous crash in the fourth stage of the 2019 Giro and eventually finished it four minutes in arrears of many of the other favourites.
Saying the pain, including an injured knee, was too severe to continue he then withdrew shortly after the start of the fifth stage.
- 'Shadow of myself' -
Dumoulin said a difficult year followed in 2020 and "at the end of 2020, beginning of 2021 I was only a shadow of myself and thus had the time to take a break from cycling and think about my future."
Dumoulin said after a while he decided to continue with his cycling career, mainly because the Tokyo Olympic Games was approaching "and I didn't want to miss out on the opportunity."
"Since that autumn in 2020 I occasionally was still able to show my abilities on the bike, last year's silver medal being the absolute highlight," Dumoulin said.
Dumoulin said he will continue with the Jumbo-Visma team for the next few months and "especially look forward to the World Championships in Australia where I hope to get the best out of myself and the time trial one last time."
He added that he has not yet made any decision about his future.
"But I do know my love for the bike will always keep me connected to the world of cycling, one way or another," Dumoulin said.