Joaquim Rodriguez has announced that he will retire at the end of the 2016 season. The Spanish rider made the statement Monday morning at his Katusha team’s Tour de France rest day press conference in Andorra.
“2016 will be my last season as a professional rider. I still enjoy this sport so much but I am 37 years old. One day I will have to stop anyway and I prefer to do this when I am still riding at a high level. I spoke about this already last year with my family. 2016 is a special year with the Tour de France coming to my Andorra. There are also the Olympic Games in Rio on a course that suits me very well. The most important reason to stop however is my family. They deserve to have me more with them. They always supported me. Now it’s my turn to support them”, said Joaquim Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, last year’s number two on the UCI ranking, is currently fifth in the Tour de France GC and he is still motivated to perform well in his last season.
“I will give my maximum like I did my whole career. I would be happy to finish my Tour career in top ten, but of course I still dream of another Overall podium in Paris. The support I got yesterday on the Pyrenees roads helps me to go on till my last day in cycling. For the moment I have no idea what will be my last race. In theory Rio and Tour of Spain are still on my program”, continued Joaquim Rodriguez.
In 2015 Rodriguez finished second overall in the Vuelta, one of his many Grand Tour podium places (3rd in Tour de France, 2nd in Tour of Italy, 2nd and 3rd in Tour of Spain). Purito Rodriguez ended the season three times (2010, 2012, 2013) as number one on the UCI WorldTour ranking. He has Flèche Wallonne, Giro di Lombardia (twice), a national Spanish Championship, Tour of Catalunya (twice), Tour of the Basque Country and Setmana Catalana on his palmares as well as stage wins in Tour (3), Giro (2) and Vuelta (9).
“I have so many memories. Now I think of my super year 2012 with Il Lombardia in the pouring rain but also I think of my silver medal at the 2013 World Championships. Not to have won there still hurts but that’s cycling. In those 17 years I lived so many things in cycling. The sport of 2016 has nothing to do anymore with cycling in 2000 when I started. I saw so many things and so many good riders, from Johan Museeuw to Nairo Quintana. The two riders who impressed me the most in my career however were Michele Bartoli and Alejandro Valverde. 17 years at the highest level is a lot. I had my best years with Team KATUSHA. They knew about my decision of today and were always on my side. I will never forget that. And… 2016 is not over yet”, concluded Joaquim Rodriguez.
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