The World Championships were supposed to be Manuel Quinziato's final race as a pro, but on the eve of the TTT, the BMC rider called time on his long career. On Monday the Italian will swap bib shorts for a business suit as he takes up a role as a rider agent.
Quinziato was down to ride the TTT in Bergen on Sunday, with the aim of closing out his career with a second world title in the event to his name. However, after seeing the 42.5km course in a recon ride, the 37-year-old held up his hand and declared that Tejay van Garderen – the team's first reserve – should replace him.
"I took the decision on Thursday but I thought a lot about it and I feel I took the right decision," Quinziato told Cyclingnews.
"The best decision for the team was also the best decision for me. I wouldn't have forgiven myself if I'd stopped the team from having the best line-up. It's important that I say that the responses I got from friends and on social media, really made me feel nice. People appreciated my honesty."
For Quinziato, who joined BMC Racing in 2010, and helped them win the Tour de France a year later, said the decision to call time on his career came down to three simple factors.
"I'm not at 100 per cent," he said.
"I didn't have the legs of my life and I would have been good enough for a typical route but there were three factors: I wasn't at 100 per cent; the parcours didn't suit me; and we had a really strong reserve. If one of those things weren't there then I would have raced. With those three things combining I felt like I was swimming against the river, so I spoke with my coach and then the team in the evening. Then I spoke to Tejay yesterday and he's on track."
Quinziato's racing career may have ended with a DNF at the recent Canadian races but he was still in BMC Racing kit on Saturday morning. He and the rest of the team were riding reconnaissance over the lumpy course but Quinziato's future will forever change on Monday morning.
"I feel blessed that I could do this job for 16 years. I decided last year that this would be my final season, and I've really enjoyed it. I'm happy to be here but from Monday I switch and I'll be a rider agent. That's my future. I can't wait to start and with my masters degree in law, it's going to be really good."
In a career stretching back to Lampre in 2002, where he rode with BMC's management pairing Max Sciandri and Marco Pinotti, Quinziato won sparingly. Instead he dedicated his time in the peloton to working for others, and supported Peter Sagan, Cadel Evans and Greg Van Avermaet to name but a few.
"I never had the shape or the engine to win a big classic but my win on the stage of the Eneco Tour, when I won over the Geraardsbergen was really special," he said.