“We welcome @PuritoRodriguez as an important member of our technical staff as he takes a difficult decision not to continue as a professional cyclist,” his new team Bahrain-Merida tweeted on Friday.
‘Purito’ had opened up the possibility of riding for the team, which launches in 2017, after initially announcing his retirement during the Tour de France in July.
The Spaniard, who spent the last seven years of his career with Katusha, won three Tour stages, two more at the Giro d’Italia and enjoyed great success on home roads in the Vuelta, where he won nine stages and came home with the mountains jersey in 2015.
“After taking enough time to think and also trying to come back to a working routine, I realized it was not possible for me.”, said Rodriguez. “So, with the support of my family and friends, I decided not to come back to competition at the highest of levels. I would like to thank everyone that supported me to come back; I am honored and you really made my decision difficult, but I believe it is better not to come back if I am not sure I can do it at the top level and be competitive to offer my fans what they deserve.
“Of course, I am grateful also to the Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team. They believed in me, they gave me all the conditions to return and they gave me the freedom of choice, but I realized, speaking with them, that I am not prepared physically and mentally, for a 100 % come back. I wanted to announce this before the start of the new season, because the riders are the protagonists and they deserve the full attention.
“Having said this, I am very proud to announce that in the future I will work for the Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team, I will contribute, help and transmit my experience and knowledge to the young riders in the team. It is a big challenge which I am very grateful to the team for this amazing opportunity. Having 17 years of cycling career, I hope I can continue my work confidently in my new role and stay connected with cycling and cycling fans. And as I said at the past Tour the France – Thank you, cycling! You are and always will be, the best thing that happened in my life. Thank you everyone!”