Pablo Lastras has announced that his long career as a professional rider is over as he continues to suffer the effects of a heavy crash at the Volta a Catalunya in March.
The veteran Movistar rider severely damaged his pelvis when he came down on a descent on stage four and the recovery process has been a protracted affair. His hip had to be reconstructed with all sorts of nuts, bolts, and screws and he is still undergoing rehabilitation to be able to walk properly again.
"From this day I won't return to being a professional cyclist," said Lastras on Wednesday, speaking on Spanish radio station Cadena Ser.
"The first five months I was looking after myself as if I was going to be discharged and able to get on my bike the next day. Now I see it as very tough, especially after realising what I have and the consequences that this type of injury entails."
The crash hasn't overshadowed Lastras' fulfilling career. The Spaniard has spent 18 years as a professional, all of which have been spent under the tutelage of current Movistar manager Eusebio Unzué, starting at Banesto in 1998. He was spent his career as a hard working, loyal domestique but has recorded eight victories, including stage wins at all three of the Grand Tours.
"I have written down in notebooks, since I was 15, almost 1600 races and 635,000 kilometres. The key is simple: have a good attitude, suffer, look after yourself a little, and motivate yourself every day," said Lastras.
"That's my daily challenge now, too," he added, outlining the extent of devastation that the crash - which he likens to falling from a third-floor flat - has had on his body.
"The aim, if all goes well, is to be able to be a normal person in January 2017. I still have many pains and the metal plate still hurts me from all angles. At the moment, until a year has passed the doctors cannot assess whether it has been a success or whether they'll have to go back and operate again. And they aren't ruling out the possibility of needing a prosthetic leg in two years if everything is badly damaged."
Despite the painful end to his career, Lastras has no regrets over his choice of a profession that carries with it certain risks and dangers. He bows out of cycling adamant that, given the chance to start afresh, he'd to it all over again.
"If I was born again, I would again become a cyclist. The most important thing in this life is being able to make choices, and I chose to be a cyclist. And I would do it all over again, with my broken bones, with all of the setbacks I've suffered and of course all the joys and satisfaction that this sport has given me," he said.