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by Dane Cash
January 15, 2020
Photography by Cor Vos
Bernhard Eisel has called it a career.
The 38-year-old Austrian, who finished his fourth season at Dimension Data last year, spent nearly two decades in the pro peloton. His list of achievements includes a collection of victories from the early years of his career – including a Gent-Wevelgem triumph in 2010 – as well as success as a road captain and lead-out man in later years.
“Having the opportunity to ride on some of the most prestigious teams in the sport, on the biggest stages of them all, has been an incredible privilege,” Eisel wrote in a statement. “I have made friends for life and travelled the world living my dream but it’s now time to take the next step of my journey.”
Bernhard Eisel leads the peloton at the 2019 Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen. Photo: Tim van Wichelen/Cor Vos © 2019
Eisel started his career with Mapei-Quick-Step in 2001, and then rode with the FDJ teams, various iterations of the Columbia/HTC squad, and Sky before moving to Dimension Data. He formed a strong relationship with Mark Cavendish over multiple years as teammates, developing into a trusted lieutenant for the Manx sprinter and playing a role in many of his big victories.
During his 19 years in the pro peloton, Eisel started 19 Grand Tours, including 12 Tours de France. He considered retirement at the end of 2018 following a serious crash and a brain injury, but decided to race for another year last season before finally deciding to hang up the wheels.
“Our sport is an incredible one and has its obvious dangers, and in 2018 I suggered a major injury that could well have brought my career to a premature end,” Eisel wrote. “Not everyone has the good fortune to retire on their own terms and so to have raced for a final season, loving what I do, sees me leave content and proud.”