Danish driver retiring at 21 calls use of pills in pro racing ‘grotesque’

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A Danish driver, who announced his retirement at just 21, has denounced the use of pills in professional racing.

Ludvig Wacker, a former member of Sunweb’s development team, decided to end his career this year citing a big crash that scared him in the peloton and mental exhaustion, behind his decision to walk away Sport.

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In an interview with the Danish site Feltet.dk, Wacker described the blatant use of pills in cycling as “grotesque”. He added that he believed the young riders would get the pills themselves without any action from their teams.

Wacker did not name any riders or teams directly.

“I’m sick of pills in sports. They may be legal pills, but I’m still sick of having pills in cycling and I think it’s ludicrous that it has to be so obvious,” he said. Feltet.dk. “It’s so obvious. In big races people walk around with little containers in their pockets with pills etc. I never wanted to take anything myself, and then you know in all finals, others take things you don’t take.

“I often think it’s the young riders themselves who do it. It is not necessarily the teams that are behind. Runners can get it themselves. It’s very easy to get your hands on it. »

Wacker added that while the substances were not banned, he was concerned about the consequences of very regular use of some of these substances.

“These include painkillers and caffeine, among others. It’s completely ridiculous how much people take because you don’t know what it can mean for the runner’s body in 20 years,” he said.


Wacker was a promising young rider and has already won the Gent-Wevelgem juniors and several stages of the Denmark Youth Tour. He was signed into Sunweb’s development team in 2019 but left when his contract expired the following year, despite being offered an extension.

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A big crash at Randers Bike Week in Denmark last year was the beginning of the end for the young cyclist. Although he didn’t suffer any serious injuries, it impacted his confidence in the peloton and made him fearful of coming down.

“There are several reasons why I stopped. I crashed last year during Randers Bike Week, which was the first race after the coronavirus stoppage. The accident itself happened at high speed, but I didn’t really hit myself, but in my head it was much worse than it really was,” he said.

“Then it went completely wrong for the Danish championships in 2020, where I was sitting too far away because I was too careful. Then I was left there by the roadside with my mum and dad. The Next day I called Sunweb and said I wouldn’t continue there even though they told me about an extension.

The struggles continued this season as Wacker raced with Danish outfit Team CO Play-Giant. Eventually, he decided to step away from the sport and retire at just 21 years old.

Despite his struggles in recent seasons, Wacker harbors no resentment towards cycling and is happy to have had the opportunity to race at a high level.

“I learned a lot living abroad, I’m really proud of it. I’m so happy to have taken this opportunity and to have been able to go so far in the sport. It’s completely unreal that I raced the junior edition of Paris-Roubaix,” he said.

Earnest L. Veasey