The penultimate level of the 2018 Tirreno-Adriatico might neatly had been the overall race of Leopold König’s occupation, but when it was once, he isn’t pronouncing. Czech publications have reported in contemporary weeks that he’s going to now not go back to the peloton, however König, an enigma to the final, has declined their repeated requests for remark.
It’s positive, then again, that the curtain has fallen on his tenure at Bora-Hansgrohe. His three-year contract was once because of expire on the finish of this month, and supervisor Ralph Denk showed on the crew presentation in Bavaria final week that König, who lately grew to become 32, isn’t at the roster for 2020.
“I’ve in reality no data,” Denk instructed Cyclingnews. “He knowledgeable me in the course of 2018 that he was once unwell, and he may now not journey, and we discovered a in reality excellent settlement with him to stay the door open. I mentioned to him, ‘In case you are able to race, come again to me.’ However after all, he by no means referred to as me and mentioned, ‘I wish to race once more.’ And now his contract is over and he’s unfastened, however I don’t know if he’s retired.”
König had spent 4 seasons with Denk’s crew in its earlier iteration as NetApp, profitable a level of the Vuelta a España in 2013 after which hanging seventh total on the Excursion de France the next 12 months. The ones presentations earned him a transfer to Crew Sky in 2015, when he completed sixth total on the Giro d’Italia and helped Chris Froome to Excursion victory.
A chronic knee harm ruined his 2d season at Sky and he returned to Denk’s squad in 2017, through which level it had rebranded as Bora-Hansgrohe and stepped as much as WorldTour stage. It was once a more or less homecoming. The similar knee harm that blighted his time at Sky dominated König out of the Giro and Vuelta, proscribing him to only 20 race days in general in 2017.
König evinced optimism at the start of the following season, mentioning that he deliberate to journey the Giro and Excursion, however his 2018 marketing campaign was once a short-lived one. After finishing one leg of the Problem Mallorca, he deserted Tirreno-Adriatico at the penultimate level, and not donned Bora-Hansgrohe’s colors once more in pageant.
He remained at the Bora-Hansgrohe roster for the 2019 marketing campaign, even if he by no means seemed at any races or crew gatherings. Denk declined to touch upon whether or not König was once nonetheless being paid by means of the crew in that length. “He was once nonetheless within the crew roster,” Denk mentioned. “We make no monetary feedback, however he was once within the crew and if he was once ready to race, he may name me.”
Knee and again issues have been reportedly the reason for König’s abandon at Tirreno in 2018, regardless that the correct causes in the back of his eventual uncoupling from Bora-Hansgrohe – and, it kind of feels, skilled biking at massive – stay unclear.
“First, he had some accidents at the knee. When he got here to us at the crew in 2017, it was once in reality now not simple for him to get to the extent you want within the WorldTour,” Denk mentioned. “Then, I don’t know what was once the overall downside for him to prevent biking, or to not race in 2019. You’d have to invite him, I haven’t any additional data.”
König was once as soon as a prolific presence on social media, commenting on political and social problems within the Czech Republic up to his personal occupation. He was once important of the rustic’s populist president Milos Zeman, as an example, and inspired younger other people to vote within the presidential election in early 2018. König ceased posting to Twitter and Instagram in March 2018, then again, simply previous to his ultimate look for Bora-Hansgrohe.
Since then there was best silence. There were not more coaching pictures from his Monaco base or updates on his race programme. There has, certainly, been no communique in any respect, with most people, the media or Bora-Hansgrohe.
“He was once betrayed by means of his well being, in a different way he may had been in different places,” one unnamed rider instructed the Czech version of the Welovecycling website online in a up to date profile of König. “However after all, his head betrayed him.”
“König sought after to finish as a king,” learn the headline of the item, “however he leaves with out fanfare and with out phrases.”