Riblon retires after failing to find new contract for 2018

I knew it was over when AG2R told me I wouldn't be kept on, says Frenchman

Christophe Riblon will retire at the end of this season after failing to find a contract for 2018. The Frenchman spent his entire professional career with AG2R La Mondiale, but the team told him in the summer that his contract would not be renewed for next year.

Since receiving the news, Riblon has been speaking with other teams but was unable to secure a contract for 2018. He went back to AG2R La Mondiale team manager Vincent Lavenu for a reprise, but his fate was already sealed, and he has decided to call time on his 13-year career.

Despite being dropped by Lavenu, 36-year-old Riblon says that he holds no hard feelings against him.

"At some point, you have to know how to turn the page. I have arrived at the end of this adventure," Riblon told courrier-picard.fr.

"I hoped to continue but, inside me, I knew it was over from the moment that AG2R let me know that I would not be kept on last June. I had contacts with other teams but without any real proposals. In early September, I asked Vincent Lavenu if he wanted to reconsider his decision, but he clearly told me that there was no more room for me. This is a decision I accept without bitterness, which I fully understand. I had to think about it and I decided to say 'I stop'."

A former national amateur road champion, Riblon made his first professional appearance with AG2R La Mondiale at the Chateauroux Classic de l'Indre Trophée Fenioux in 2005. He would later go on to finish second at the Tour de l'Avenir – racing for France – beaten by current Lotto Soudal professional Lars Bak.

During his 13 seasons, Riblon won two stages of the Tour de France, including the famous double ascent of L'Alpe d'Huez in 2013. He also enjoyed success on the track with silver medals in the World Championships in the points race (2008) and the Madison (2010).

Riblon rode 13 Grand Tours during his career, making his debut at the 2007 Giro d'Italia. His last Grand Tour appearance came at the 2016 Vuelta a España. For the first time in 10 years, Riblon did not ride a single Grand Tour this season and endured a series of DNFs to close out his career.

"It was getting harder and harder to be good, although I was still involved in preparation and training," said Riblon.

After months of searching for a contract, Riblon is now making plans for his new life post-cycling.

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