Joaquim Rodriguez announces retirement

Katusha rider to finish career at end of 2016 season

Joaquim Rodriguez will retire from professional cycling at the end of the 2016 cycling, the Spanish rider announced during the Tour de France’s first rest day in Andorra.

An Andorran native himself, Katusha rider Rodriguez – an eight-time Grand Tour top-five finisher – chose the principality as the setting for his announcement.

Fighting back tears, Rodriguez, who went into the rest day in fifth place at the Tour, could not hide his emotion at the decision.

Joaquim Rodriguez, 37, will retire this winter (pic: Sirotti)

“I’d like to stop while I’m still at a good level,” he explained. “I love this sport and I wouldn’t change a thing about these years I’ve spent as a professional.

“I’d like to thank my family and everybody who has supported me during my career.”

Alongside the Tour, Rodriguez will also ride the Rio 2016 Olympic road race and the Vuelta a Espana, all being well, before calling time on his professional career.

One of the foremost climbers in the current peloton, Rodriguez has also twice been on the UCI Road World Championships podium and topped the individual UCI WorldTour rankings in 2012 and 2013.

However, despite his success – also including two Giro di Lombardia victories, 14 Grand Tour stage wins, the Giro d’Italia points classification and Vuelta a Espana King of the Mountains win – he has never won a Grand Tour, narrowly missing out on several occasions.

In 2012, he held the maglia rosa going into the Giro d’Italia’s final stage but lost it to Ryder Hesjedal in the time trial which concluded the race, while he was also second at last year’s Vuelta a Espana.

Rodriguez is currently fifth overall at the Tour de France (pic: Sirotti)

And Rodriguez is keen to add another podium finish to his Grand Tour palmares having announced his retirement.

“I will give my maximum like I did my whole career,” he added. “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 Pyrenean roads helps me to go on.”

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