United Arab Emirates rider Alexys Brunel retires from professional cycling at 23

UAE Team Emirates rider Alexys Brunel has announced his decision to retire from professional cycling aged 23, saying he wants to focus on different activities in his life.

The Frenchman turned professional in 2019 with Groupama-FDJ Continental Team, before moving the following year to the WorldTour team, where he spent two seasons. Brunel then moved to the United Arab Emirates at the start of 2022 but decided the time was right to end his career.

“I would like to thank everyone at UAE Team Emirates for the opportunities and support they have given me,” Brunel said. “It was a pleasure to be part of this great team, but now is the time for me to turn over a new leaf and focus on new challenges and experiences in my life.

He further explained on instagram (opens in a new tab) what these new challenges entail, which will begin shortly with a race in a different sport on Sunday.

“We meet again for new adventures, with this weekend my participation in the Ironman 70.3 in Nice”, he announced.

An accomplished junior rider, Brunel won the European Junior Road Championships time trial in 2016 and the Juniors Ghent-Wevelgem the same year. He also became French U23 time trial champion in consecutive years in 2017 and 2018 as well, before winning the 2019 Paris-Tours Espoirs.

Brunel’s only professional victory came in the first stage of the 2020 Etoile de Bessèges – where he finished third overall. The Frenchman’s last start for UAE Emirates was at the Tro-Bro Léon in May, although he failed to complete the UCI 1.Pro race.

UAE CEO and team manager Mauro Gianetti said he was sad to see Brunel leave the team but supported the decision.

“We still believe Alexys has huge potential and we’ve already seen glimpses of that in the first part of this season,” Gianetti said. “But we are talking about a human being and not just a racing cyclist and we fully accept his decision to end his career as a professional cyclist. We wish Alexys every success in his future endeavours.”

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