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“After taking enough time to think and also trying to come back to a working routine, I realized it was not possible for me. So, with the support of my family and friends, I decided not to come back to competition at the highest of le...

Photo: Sirotti


09.12.2016 @ 17:27 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After a few months of hesitation, Joaquim Rodriguez has finally made up his mind. The Spaniard won’t be riding again in 2017.


"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.


Rodriguez has decided to use his exceptional experience with Bahrain-Merida as part of the technical staff in 2017, 2018 and 2019. After he signed to ride for the team and before the first training camp, he has made the decision together with his agent and family that it is to his best interest not to continue as a pro cyclist. He is very excited to use his experience to contribute the team. Because of his rich experience in the peloton and his wide knowledge which he built during his long professional career, the management team offered him an important position in the technical staff. One of his main roles will be to work with young talents and give them the opportunity to learn from his cycling experiences. As a winner of many competitions in the world of professional cycling, Rodriguez has a huge amount of knowledge as a pro cyclist and he will be an important part of the promotion of Merida bikes as an important ambassador, working closely with their representatives and team specialists. Last but not least, he will also help to promote the country of Bahrain and work closely with the Bahrain Tourism Association.


After taking this difficult decision, Rodriguez commented:


“After taking enough time to think and also trying to come back to a working routine, I realized it was not possible for me. 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!”


Brent Copeland, Team BAHRAIN MERIDA General Manager, commented on Rodriguez decision:


“We support Purito with this difficult decision. We know how hard it is for a professional cyclist to end his racing career and we wanted to give him the opportunity to end his career with our team. We left the final decision up to him and wanted him to be free with what he best decided.


"As we have said before the first contact with Joaquim was made with the intention of him working with the technical staff of the team so we are pleased that he has decided to continue in this direction. The opportunity for our riders and staff to use his priceless experience and knowledge is something that is worth an immense amount to the team and we take pride in having Purito in this position. There is no better way to support a rider with his kind of personality and knowledge than offer him an important role of this sort. At BAHRAIN MERIDA we believe that an expert rider as Purito should be kept within the cycling world. We salute him as one of the world's best cyclists and we welcome him as one of the team's staff members and look forward to many more years of working together."


After he announced his retirement following the Rio Olympics, Katusha forced Rodriguez to ride three races in Italy at the end of the season. Frustrated not to have ended the career in the way he wanted, he signed a contract with Bahrain-Merida but he remained undecided whether he would actually pin on a number again. Earlier this month, he said that he expected to make the decision at the start of the year but now he has apparently made up his mind.


Thus, Il Lombardia was the final race of Rodriguez’ glorious career.



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