Spain’s Iñigo Cuesta has announced his retirement after racing for 18 seasons as a professional.
The 42-year-old finished his home stage race, the Vuelta a Burgos, on Sunday and has decided to hang up his wheels after his Caja Rural team was not awarded a wild card invitation to the Vuelta Espana. Cuesta lead home a small group of riders at the summit finish at Areniscas de los Pinares and smiled as he crossed the line. He finished 44th overall, 15:09 behind winner Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha).
Last year he started a record 17th consecutive Vuelta Espana and was given the honour of racing with race number one as recognition of his longevity.
“It was a real blow not to get a ride in this year’s Vuelta and when I heard it killed off my motivation,” Cuesta told Marca.
During his long career, Cuesta rode for ONCE, Linda McCartney, Cofidis, Saunier Duval, CSC, Cervelo TestTeam and Caja Rural. Records show he won just three races during his long career: the Tour of the Basque Country in 1998, a stage at the Dauphine Libere in 2000 and a stage at the Volta a Catalunya in 2005. However he was a valued mountain domestique and dedicated himself to helping the likes of Alex Zulle, Ivan Basso and Carlos Sastre during his years as a trusted domestique.
“Each of my team leaders were different but special,” he said. “I have some special memories from each of my 18 seasons but winning the Tour of Basque Country was a great moment.”
Cuesta has yet to decide what he will do after retirement and may stay in the sport.
“After 18 years, I still love cycling,” he said.