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Jesse Sergent retires from cycling at 28

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 22/07/2016
Jesse Sergent was hit by a service car in the race in Belgium. © AP Photo Jesse Sergent was hit by a service car in the race in Belgium.

Accomplished New Zealand cyclist Jesse Sergent has been forced into premature retirement at the age of 28.

Sergent has struggled for fitness and form after a serious crash in the Tour of Flanders in April last year.

The time trial specialist has received limited opportunities in the first year of a two-year deal with French team AG2R La Mondiale, missing selection for the Tour de France and the Rio Olympics.

His coach Mike McRedmond said last year's crash in Belgium, when he was hit by a neutral service car, had proven a major setback.

Sergent needed three operations to mend a broken collarbone and it was several months until he returned to his bike, ruining his 2015 season.

The Feilding-born rider had struggled to adjust to a French-speaking team and was frustrated his best form had deserted him.

"The life of a pro cyclist is really, really hard," McRedmond told Fairfax Media.

Jesse Sergent at the Commonwealth Games. © Getty Images Jesse Sergent at the Commonwealth Games.

"You have to train every day, you've got a big race programme and a lot of people who don't understand the sport don't understand how hard it is. It just wears you down."

On the track, Sergent won team pursuit bronze medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, along with multiple medals at world championships, on both the road and track.

Gold eluded him that level, as well as at the 2010 Commonwealth Games where he snared silver in both the road time trial men's track team pursuit.

He became a road professional in 2011, beginning a five-year association with what was then Team RadioShack.

He completed the Tour of Italy in 2012 and Tour of Spain two years later.

Sergent won stages on the Tour of Austria and the Eneco Tour, winning the general classification of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen and the Tour du Poitou Charentes in 2011.

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