By Antonio J. Salmerón
After ten seasons as professional rider, Martin Perdiguero has retired from professional cycling at the age of 33. Persecution by the UCI over doping was cited by the rider as the reason for his sudden retirement.
"I am tired of [the] hypocrisy. I feel persecuted. Last week, [members of the UCI] came to my house to do a [doping] control. Several people had warned me that they would come," said the Phonak rider in an interview for the Vuelta official sport newspaper AS.
Perdiguero added, "Although Phonak has already announced its disappearance at the end this season, I had a pair of offers from foreign squads for the next year. I know that I still have two more years at a good competitive level, but I have already decided [to say] 'good-bye'. It is better this way, because cycling is now based on [suspicion of] 'who will be the next victim?'"
His decision was influenced by Phonak's withdrawal as a major sponsor in the aftermath of the Floyd Landis affair. "It was a very great blow [Landis' positive test for drugs during the Tour]," he lamented. "After the Landis Tour victory, Landis secured his contract as well as the rest of his team-mates in Phonak," he said. "But now we are all in the street".
Perdiguero said that the actual morale at Phonak is, "Not as bad as it could be in an team that is going to disappear. The morale is not as good as in the Tour, but [the other riders] know that they must ride well if they want a new contract for the next year".
Perdiguero's best year was 2004 when he won eight professional races including the Clasica San Sebastian and the overall and two stages of the Tour of Catalonia.