Italian Daniele Nardello announced Friday that he will retire after the Spring Classics. The 36-year-old cited continuous physical problems as the reason for ending his 16-year career. He will compete in this weekend's E3 Prijs Harelbeke and Brabantse Pijl, and then the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde, Ronde van Vlaanderen and Gent-Wevelgem before hanging up the bike. Following his retirement, he will join the technical staff of the Fuji-Servetto team.
Nardello explained in a press release that retirement has been on his mind since he struggled to recover from a crash in the Tour Down Under. "Despite the big sacrifices I made in training, my recovery was slow, especially when it came to getting fit for the Tirreno-Adriatico, where I didn't find myself as good as I wanted to be."
He then was struck by an intestinal virus which forced him out of the Milan-Sanremo. "At that point, the decision became definitive. My last race will be the Tour of Flanders, the most beloved course for me, even though it's likely I'll close my pro career at the Gent-Wevelgem to fulfil the team's needs over there."
Nardello began his professional career in 1994 with the Mapei team, where he stayed for nine seasons during which he took two stages of the Vuelta a España, one stage of the Tour de France and finished top ten in the Tour three years in a row (1999-2001). He finished fifth in the Tour of Flanders twice before switching to the Telekom/T-Mobile team in 2003.
The Italian said that while he will stop racing, he will not be far from the bike and is looking forward to taking part in his Gran Fondo on June 14th. "It's going to be tough to leave professional cycling, but I will do it with the sense of having always given 100% of my capabilities every time, to earn the big results during all these years as pro. Now I'll have more time to spend at the ice-cream shops I'm opening in the Ticino, at Stabio and Lugano, and, the most important, to enjoy time with my family after so many years of riding."