Farewell to Joost Posthuma

Recently retired Joost Posthuma (image courtesy of Joost Posthuma)

Another rider calling it a day is Dutch cyclist Joost Posthuma who announced his retirement after failing to find a place on a team for next year. Joost, a renowned time-trialist with wins in the Tour of Luxembourg, Sachsen Tour, Driedaagse De Panne, Ruta del Sol and a stage in Paris-Nice among others on his palmares, has spent the last two years as part of the Leopard-Trek/RadioShack-Nissan set-up. He recently reported on his own website:

I have been unable to find a team for next year and I am not sure what I will be doing. I took my decision a few weeks ago. I am stopping and it’s time to move on to new challenges. My decision has nothing to do with the Armstrong [doping] affair. It is a total coincidence.

An experienced domestique, Joost was part of the 2011 Leopard-Trek squad which put both Andy and Frank Schleck on the Tour de France podium behind Cadel Evans. However, it appears his important role was of little value in a system where UCI points are one of the most critical factors in any team’s bid for a WorldTour licence. Joost believed he was unable to find a place on another World Tour team due to his lack of UCI points. His best result this season was an eighth place finish in Bayern-Rundfahrt.

Joost hanging up his bike, but probably not for the last time (image courtesy of Joost Posthuma)

His plight has gathered support from none other than the leader of the UCI World Tour, Joaquim Rodriguez, who has said:

Posthuma didn’t get a team because he didn’t have any points, it’s a total disgrace. They should triple or quadruple the points value and increase the number of riders that get points up to the guy who finishes thirtieth. Or if somebody wins, then his teammates should automatically get some points as well.

Well said Joaquim, but given that it’s only the points from teams’ top 12 riders which count, I suspect that team management are using this as a convenient excuse not to hire or re-hire someone.

So what next for Joost? Well, as a youngster, Joost set his heart on becoming a policeman and athletics was his main sport. However, inspired by his uncle, a keen amateur cyclist, he too took to two wheels: initially a mountain bike and finally a road one. He joined his local club, the Oldenzaalse cycling club, and tasted success straight away, attracting the interest of a bigger team from Twente, before finally joining the Rabobank feeder squad. In his first year with them he gained a few podiums and decided to forsake his studies to give it a go as a professional cyclist.

He continued to add to his palmares and in his final year as an under-23 rider had done enough to make the move up to the Pro Tour team and rode the Vuelta in his first year and the Tour thereafter. Although at Rabobank he rode largely in support of the team’s leaders he garnered victories every year mostly in smaller stage races. Thanks to a collision with a car while out training, Joost missed the controversial 2007 Tour de France where teammate Michael Rasmussen was ejected from the race while wearing the maillot jaune.

A fine exponent of the art of time-trialling Joost Posthuma (image courtesy of Joost Posthuma)

His move to Leopard-Trek in 2011 began well with a number of top ten placings and a key role in their Tour de France team – his fifth participation. But this year, as for a lot of RadioShack-Nissan riders, has been nowhere near as successful for Joost. A farewell race was  held last week in his honour and, as he ponders his future at home with his wife and two young sons, VeloVoices wishes him every success and happiness in whatever he decides to do next.