By Monika Prell
After picking up a fourth world points race title on home soil in Majorca last Saturday, Spanish track rider Joan Llaneras has announced his intention to retire from competitive cycling after the Beijing Olympic Games next year. "I am 37 years old, I soon will be 38. I do not see anybody over 40 who is riding at a high level," Llaneras told todociclismo.
"The races I compete in are really exhausting, like every sport. I can arrive in Beijing in good condition, but after the Olympic Games I will end my career. You have to say 'basta' (enough) in a determined moment."
For Llaneras, the gold medal meant something very special, mainly for the memory of his friend Issac Gálvez who died in a crash at the Gent Six Day in November. The pair won the world Madison title together in Bordeaux last year. "These are little intimate things, you keep them inside and remember them in a very special way," he said.
Aside from Llaneras' points race gold, the Spanish team claimed just one other medal in Majorca, Sergei Escobar taking bronze in the individual pursuit. However, the Majorcan insisted the team were satisfied with their performance. "We knew that we had four or five chances to win a medal and when you reach two, good, and when you reach all five, you could jump for joy," said Llaneras. "I think that what we got was within our expectations."