Curtain falls on Peraud's career after Vuelta a Espana

'I've made my childhood dreams come true and more' says 39-year-old Frenchman

As the Vuelta a España peloton filed over the finish line on Madrid's Plaza de Cibeles, it was a poignant moment for Jean-Christophe Péraud as the curtain fell on his career.

The 39-year-old Frenchman had marked out the Vuelta as his final outing and though he was scheduled to ride the World Championships team time trial next month, AG2R-La Mondiale are understood to be one of the teams boycotting the event.

Péraud started out on the fat tyres and suspension of a mountain bike, and won Olympic silver in Beijing in 2008 before a shock victory in the time trial at the French national championships in 2009 triggered a switch to the road.

He turned pro with Omega Pharma-Lotto in 2009 and then spent six years with AG2R La Mondiale, the highlight being his runner-up finish at the 2014 Tour de France, where he became the first Frenchman on the podium since Richard Virenque 17 years previously. He was 10th – 9th after Alberto Contador was expunged from the record books – at his debut Tour in 2011 as a 34-year-old, and he won the Criterium International back-to-back in 2014 and 2015.

"I'm proud of what I've done, with my Olympic medal and my second place at the 2014 Tour de France. As a kid I dreamed of the Olympics. I've made my childhood dreams come true and more," said Péraud. "I don't have any regrets… except, maybe, not having managed a whole Giro."

Péraud eschewed the Tour de France in his final season in favour of a Giro-Vuelta double, but he suffered the disappointment of crashing out heavily on stage three in Italy.

The Vuelta a Espana went much better and, though he didn't manage a stage win or top-10 overall finish, he was happy with the way he was able to say goodbye to professional cycling. 

"13th is not exceptional compared to what I've done before, but I've had a complicated year-and-a-half and it was important to rediscover my form. I'm happy to have been able to end my career like that.

"It was difficult with some really good moments, like the victory of Pierre Latour [on stage 20 -ed] or my 12th place behind the 'big guns' at Lagos de Covadonga.

"It's my last race and there's a hint of heartache but I no longer have the strength to make myself suffer," he added, saying he has no concrete plans for retirement but is keen to remain within the spheres of sport and cycling.

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