While many riders make their preparations for the start of the forthcoming season, others are focusing on the next chapter of their lives after calling time on their career.
The 2017 season saw the retirement of some of the biggest names in the peloton, including a multiple Grand Tour champions, a Monument winner and several Grand Tour stage victors. Here, Cyclingnews rounds up 10 notable retirements from this year.
After considering retirement on a couple of occasions, Alberto Contador finally pulled the plug at the end of this season. Even into the summer, Contador had left the door open to riding into 2018, but a tough day on the bike during the Tour de France sealed the deal for the Spaniard. Stage 9 into Chambery saw Contador crash twice and give away four minutes, ultimately ending his chance at victory or even a podium.
Contador waited until the end of the race to tell his team about his decision and then set about going out with a bang. His home Grand Tour, the Vuelta a Espana would be his final hurrah. The general classification quickly seemed out of his reach but the ever-aggressive Contador rode as he had loved to do throughout his career. It finally got him a famous victory on the Alto de l'Angliru and a hero's welcome in Madrid the following day.
A few lucrative criteriums followed the Vuelta before he truly hung up his wheels. Following his retirement, Contador will keep his toe in the cycling water with his Polartec-Kometa team, which will act as a feeder team for Trek-Segafredo. He will also work on other projects surrounding stroke awareness.
It seems so long ago now that it is almost easy to forget that Tom Boonen retired this season. The Belgian has been a former professional since completing Paris-Roubaix in April. After the retirement of Fabian Cancellara, Boonen's farewell really was the end of an ear for the Classics.
Boonen tried to brush off any thought of nostalgia as he picked his way through the final races of his career, but it was hard to ignore the fervour that met him at every turn. From the electric atmosphere at the start of the Tour of Flanders to the thousands that turned up to see him roll out of his hometown of Mol at Scheldeprijs to the football-like chants that greeted him at the finish of Paris-Roubaix, it was clear to see the impact Boonen had made throughout his career.
The results did not exactly come as Boonen might have hoped but with victory for his teammate Philippe Gilbert at the Tour of Flanders and second for Zdenek Stybar at Paris-Roubaix, it was hardly a disaster for the Belgian.
Since retiring, Boonen has been making the most of his love of cars and getting involved in motor racing.
While there were hints and more about the impending retirements of the two above riders, Andrew Talansky's decision came out of left field. The American announced via an Instagram post in September that he would retire from racing with immediate effect at the age of 29.
Talansky turned professional with the Garmin-Cervelo squad in 2011 off the back of a podium at the Tour de l'Avenir and the under-23 national time trial title. Promising results were quick to follow with victory in the young rider's classification at the Tour de Romandie. A year later, he was second at the Swiss race and took seventh at the Vuelta a Espana.
He backed it up with a top 10 at the following season's Tour de France, putting him among America's next great Grand Tour hopes. There were more good results to come with a Dauphine victory in 2014, 11th at the Tour in 2015 and fifth at the 2016 Vuelta, but there were plenty of lows among the highs. Last year, despite the Vuelta result, proved a particularly challenging one for Talansky, emotionally as well as physically. While a stage win and third overall proved the highlight of his season's campaign.
In the end, Talansky decided that he wanted to spend more time with his family and has instead switched his athletic focus to Ironman.
Like Contador, Thomas Voeckler used his home Grand Tour as his career swansong. After 17 seasons, the 38-year-old bowed out at his 15th consecutive Tour de France, denying all fans his vast array of facial expressions.
Voeckler has been at times a divisive character in the bunch, but has won fans with his irrepressible style of racing. Throughout his career he has won four stages of the Tour, the mountains classification in 2012 and two stints in the yellow jersey, the second of which ended with a fourth-place overall. He is also a two-time national road race champion and has victories at the GP Plouay and GP de Quebec on his palmares.
He spent his entire career with Jean-Rene Bernaudaeu's set-up and played a large part in keeping the team afloat when Bouygues Telecom pulled out at the end of 2010.
Tyler Farrar's retirement announcement came quietly in September. It was to a certain extent unexpected but it wasn't altogether a surprise. One of the few riders to have won stages in all three Grand Tours, Farrar had slipped back in the bunch in recent years and failing to secure a Grand Tour spot at all this year perhaps helped cement his decision to call it quits with a year still to run on his current contract.
Farrar began racing with some of the biggest US domestic squads before heading to Europe in 2006 with Cofidis. Two years with the French team was followed by seven with the Slipstream squad. Farrar's biggest results came with Jonathan Vaughters team with a stage win each at the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France and two at the Vuelta a Espana. He also won Scheldeprijs in 2010 and was twice on the top step at the Vattenfall Cyclassics in 2009 and 2010.
In 2015 he began racing with MTN-Qhubeka with a top 10 at Scheldeprijs that year his last notable result. In the last two years, he has been working in more of a domestique role, helping out the likes of Edvald Boasson Hagen at the Classics.
Adriano Malori took part in just two race days this season, neither of which he finished, before he confirmed his retirement in July. Unlike a lot of others on this list, Malori's retirement was forced through injury rather than choice.
Malori's struggles began at the Tour de San Luis in 2016 when his front wheel was caught in a crack in the tarmac, causing him to crash at high speed. His injuries were such that the medical staff at the hospital chose to put him in an induced coma to allow him to recover. He was soon brought out of the coma but it would be three weeks before he was in the condition to return him to Europe. After months of care, Malori made his racing return at the Canadian WorldTour races in September 2016. However, of the six race days he started, he was only able to complete one. He tried again this season but it soon became clear to the Italian that he would no longer be able to race at the professional level.
The 29-year-old was one of the strongest time triallists in the peloton and retired with three national titles under his belt. In 2015, he helped Movistar to bronze in the team time trial at the World Championships and took a silver for Italy in the individual event. He also has a Vuelta a Espana stage win to his name.
Once Belgium's next great hope for Grand Tour racing, Jürgen Van den Broeck hung up his wheels for good after a disappointing season with LottoNL-Jumbo.
Van den Broeck turned professional with US Postal in 2004 but it wasn't until he switched to Predictor-Lotto three years later that he was given an opportunity to see what he could do in the Grand Tours. His first attempt at the 2007 Giro d'Italia was nothing to write home about but he returned the following year to go seventh overall and put himself forward as a GC contender.
Two fourth places at the Tour de France in 2010 and 2012, the first of which would be upgraded to third after Contador's disqualification, were tantalising demonstrations to the Belgian public of what might be possible. However, a heavy crash at the 2013 Tour left him with a knee injury that would ultimately trouble him for the remainder of his career.
There would be some solid results over the years to come with a national time trial title in 2015 a rare ray of light. His three-week prowess quickly diminished and 91st was his result at this year's Giro. A month before the race, Van den Broeck admitted that the 2013 crash had impacted his career and two weeks into the Giro he confirmed his retirement at the end of the season.
Manuel Quinziato announced his intention to retire midway through the season, but he had been planning for the occasion from a long way out. He had studying law throughout his long career and made the decision ahead of the 2016 season. The Italian finally graduated in March, before confirming his retirement a month later.
Quinziato has been racing as a professional since 2002 when he joined Lampre-Daikin. There was a brief spell at Saunier Duval-Prodir before he joined Liquigas in 2006 and then BMC Racing in 2011. He has been a key part of the team around Greg Van Avermaet at the Classics and the squad's team time trial line-up. He was with them for their winning efforts in 2014 and 2015 and took two silvers in 2012 and last season. Quinziato had planned to close out his career with the team in Bergen this year but opted out upon seeing the parcours.
Now embarking on the next stage of his life, Quinziato hopes to use his law degree to help him as a rider agent. He will also begin his master's degree in law.
After a career that began in 2002 and saw him was with T-Mobile, Team Sky and Lotto-Belisol, Greg Henderson called it quits at the end of this season. Henderson spent the last year at UnitedHealthcare after some confusion meant there was no space left for him at Lotto-Soudal for 2017.
Henderson became best known in recent years as a lead-out rider for Andre Greipel during his five-season stint at Lotto. However, he began his career on the track and won a world title in the scratch race in 2004 before competing for New Zealand in the points race and Madison at the Olympics, something he would do again in 2008. During his lengthy career, Henderson also notched up a Vuelta a Espana stage win, one at Paris-Nice and had podium finishes at the Tour Down Under and Tour of Britain.
Following his retirement, Henderson has joined USA Cycling as the endurance performance director.
The end of Christophe Riblon's professional cycling career came by design rather than choice. After 13 years with the AG2R La Mondiale set-up, the 36-year-old was given notice that his contract would not be renewed. The team was going in a direction that did not require his services anymore.
Riblon tried to find a contract and even went back to AG2R to see if they might change their mind, but the answer was still no, and he eventually decided to cut his losses. Riblon's career has come with two Tour de France stage wins, most notably on the double ascent of Alpe d'Huez in 2013. He also has two silver medals from the Track World Championships.
Riblon has not yet confirmed what his post-cycling career will involve and if he will try to remain in the sport or not.
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