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GP de Denain winner Jimmy Casper (Saur- Sojasun).
Frenchman hangs up wheels after 15 seasons in the peloton
Jimmy Casper has announced his retirement after failing to secure a contract for the 2013 season. The veteran French sprinter spent the past year at Ag2r-La Mondiale but was unable to add to his total of 61 career victories.
“Given that no team offered me a contract for 2013, I see I am forced to bring an end to my career as a professional cyclist,” Casper said, according to AFP. “I want to thank all of my teams for all these great moments of life, emotion, sharing and human experience – and for these victories.”
After turning professional with La Française des Jeux in 1998, Casper made his first waves the following season when he sprang from relative obscurity to beat Erik Zabel on four occasions at the Tour of Germany.
Casper struggled to confirm that early promise at Marc Madiot’s team but a 2004 switch to Cofidis heralded the most consistently successful spell of his career, crowned by victory on the opening stage of the 2006 Tour de France in Strasbourg.
While that was Casper’s only win at La Grande Boucle, he was a regular fixture in bunch sprints at the Tour and also in the autobus, finishing as lanterne rouge on two occasions, in 2001 and 2004, as well as second-last overall in 2006.
Coupled with sparring partner Jimmy Engoulvent, Casper went on to enjoy three solid seasons in the Saur-Sojasun set-up, winning Paris-Camembert in 2009 and a stage of the Tour of Oman in 2010. The 34-year-old Casper is now hoping to continue his involvement in cycling in a coaching role.
“I hope to succeed in my re-adaptation in this cycling environment, which I love and which has given me so much,” he said.