By Susan Westemeyer
It was the end of an era in magenta on Wednesday as Giuseppe Guerini did not start the 17th stage of the Vuelta a España due to illness, thus putting an end to his 15-year career. He had been with T-Mobile Team/Team Telekom since 1999, longer than any other rider currently with the team.
The 37 year-old announced last month that he would stop riding after the Vuelta. His career highlights include two Tour de France stage wins and two second-place finishes in the Giro d'Italia.
While the Bergamo native has started 19 Grand Tours, he has never finished the Vuelta, which he started four times. "I have no real feelings for the Vuelta," he told Cyclingnews in a January interview. "I like the Giro a lot because it was the first big win of my career, and I love the Tour now, so normally at the end of the season, I always feel very tired."
His team and his sponsor paid tribute to him, as a man and as a rider. "Giuseppe Guerini is one of the most pleasant riders in the team history," Christian Frommert, director of sponsoring communications for sponsor Deutsche Telekom told Cyclingnews. "He was always a good representative, both on and off the bike. He is a real gentleman and we really wish him all the best for his private life and his career after his cycling career."
Rolf Aldag was Guerini's teammate for many years and also worked with him as the team's sport director this season. "And so ends a great career," Aldag said on the team's website, t-mobile-team.com. "I have always appreciated Giuseppe very much. He is very friendly and a real team player. I hope that he enjoys the time with his family and his life after his riding career."