Belgian elite cyclist Justin Laevens has come out gay.

Laevens is one of only a handful of pro male riders to come out.

Laevens, 19, told Belgian website that he's been struggling with the decision to come out publicly for a couple of years.

“I had been thinking about it for two years. It was a big step,” he said. “My parents were very positive about it. I was especially afraid of the reactions of bigger riders or teams, that they would look at me differently, but I don’t think that’s the case.”

“Being out in the sports world is difficult. I hope I can set an example for other athletes, for riders or for cyclocrossers who may still be hidden in their shell,” he said, referring to cyclo-cross, a form of bicycle racing popular in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands.

He added that he doesn't know any out cyclists. “I didn't find it difficult to express myself, but I did in sport, because I don't know any [cyclist] who is gay,” he said.

In an Instagram post, Laevens thanked followers for their “beautiful and positive messages.”

“Thank you for all your beautiful and positive messages!” he captioned a photo of himself. “I hope to be an example to others. Stay yourself, enjoy your life & be happy yourself! [heart emoji]”