This article originally appeared on Velo News
Alex Howes is hanging up his skinny tires.
Howes waved goodbye to the WorldTour this week in a message that confirmed he will step away from EF Education-EasyPost‘s road program.
The 34-year-old Coloradan will continue to race across dirt, mud, and every other surface with wingman Lachlan Morton in the team’s “alt.” program.
“These past few years have been a real rollercoaster. The highest highs mixed with the lowest lows. I share a lot here but some things best left at home. Through it all the bike has been there. A toy, a tool, a bridge, a window. A place to find a smile on a hard day. The bike has always been there.
“I love riding now as much as ever but to borrow words from the great Serena Williams, it's time for me to, ‘evolve away from’ WorldTour racing. With all the highs & lows, the desire to go toe to toe with the world's best, on their turf, with friends and family 5000 miles away ... well, that desire is waning,” Howes wrote this weekend.
Here’s some Howes highlights:
Howes turned pro with Slipstream in 2007 and spent almost all the next 15 years under the team’s umbrella as it transitioned through Garmin, Cannondale, and EF identities.
Howes amassed five grand tour starts and established himself as a leading road pro with victories at the U.S. Pro Challenge and Colorado Classic, and beat back Stephen Bassett and Neilson Powless for the national title at the 2019 race in Knoxville.
Recent seasons have seen Howes straddle EF’s traditional and alternative programs, balancing top-tier road racing with starts at rides like Leadville Trail 100, Unbound, and Old Man Winter Rally.
“We planned for this year to be light on the road-side. It was made even lighter by a furious UCI points battle & a long string of injury & illness. EF moving me off the WT team doesn't really change much for now. I'll still be racing our alternative calendar for the remainder of 2022 & loving every bit of it,” Howes wrote.
“What it does signal is the end of my 11 years (ok, 10.583 years) on the WT stage. It's hard to articulate how I feel about that. Sad, relived, nervous, excited, nostalgic ... Above all though is grateful. Racing the biggest races, on the biggest stage against the world's best was my dream ever since I was a small boy. It wasn't always sunshine & roses, in fact it was mostly back-breaking work, but it was everything I'd hoped it would be.
“Very few people in this world get to tear out a page of a magazine at the age of 7 and say, ‘someday, that's going to be me’ & actually have that dream become reality. It's easy to get lost in professional sport, to lose a sense of purpose, to lose the, "why" but I've always worked hard to bring that young version of myself along for the ride in hopes that what I do might help others to not just dream big but to act on those dreams.
“A huge heartfelt thank you to the EF Pro Cycling family for being my home away from home all these years, my friends & family for their endless support and thank you to YOU for following along thus far. I still love racing & plan to continue. I'm not entirely sure what that will look like in the years to come but I do know that no matter what, it will involve the bike & chasing dreams.”
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