With the 2019 season rapidly fading into memory, teams and riders are already planning for next year. New signings are meeting up with their new teammates, training camps are scheduled for the end of the year, and race calendars and goals are carefully planned.
For many riders, however, there'll be no more of that, with a number choosing to end their career in 2019. Almost 50 riders have already confirmed that this year was their final pro season.
Here's a look at 10 notable retirements following the 2019 season.
Stijn Devolder, 40 (Corendon-Circus)
The most lauded rider to call it day this off-season, Devolder is the only Monument winner to retire from the pro peloton in 2019. In 2008 and 2009 he won back-to-back editions of the Tour of Flanders, going solo on both occasions to deliver victory for QuickStep.
Devolder, now 40, spent three seasons at the Belgian powerhouse, winning the Volta ao Algarve, two Tours of Belgium, the Tour of Austria, two national time trial titles, and two of his three national road race titles while at the team.
Devolder went on to help Fabian Cancellara win Flanders for a second time with RadioShack, and has also raced for Vacansoleil and Verandas Willems.
His final season was spent with Mathieu van der Poel's Corendon-Circus team.
Laurens ten Dam, 38 (CCC Team)
A pro for 16 seasons, Ten Dam spent the bulk of his career in the Netherlands, spending seven years at Rabobank and three at Sunweb. The best results of his career came with the former, as he took top ten placings at the 2012 Vuelta a España and 2014 Tour de France.
Ten Dam also won two races during his career: the 2006 Course Cycliste de Solidarnosc and the 2008 Critérium International. In his later years, he was best-known for serving as a domestique for Tom Dumoulin. In 2017, he helped his countryman to victory at the Giro d'Italia.
Ten Dam has always enjoyed an alternative lifestyle away from racing and announced he will remain active in the sport after retirement, move on to ride adventure and gravel races such as the Dirty Kanza and Cape Epic.
Mark Renshaw, 37 (Dimension Data)
For years one of the top lead out men in the sport, Renshaw draws his 16-year career to a close. The Australian turned pro with FDJ back in 2004 after coming through the ranks of the Australian track programme.
In 2009, he began a long and fruitful partnership with sprinter Mark Cavendish at Columbia-HTC, with the Brit winning 16 Tour de France stages in the three-year span Renshaw spent there.
He pursued his own sprint ambitions at Rabobank before moving to QuickStep and, finally, Dimension Data with Cavendish.
The 37-year-old can look back on 12 wins during his career, including the 2011 Tour of Qatar and stages at the Tour Down Under, Eneco Tour and Tour of Britain.
Taylor Phinney, 29 (EF Education First)
Phinney draws his career to a premature stop after nine years in the peloton, citing a desire to follow his passion for art on a full-time basis. A time triallist by trade, before later delivering on early cobbled Classics potential, Phinney is best-known for his prologue victory at the 2012 Giro d'Italia.
The same year, he finished fourth at the London Olympics road race, also winning the Dubai Tour and stages at the Tour de Pologne and Eneco Tour before a career-altering crash suffered during the US National Championships road race in 2014.
Upon his return to racing after recovering from the brutal leg injuries he sustained, Phinney took victory on the opening stage of the 2015 US Pro Challenge and was part of the title-winning TTT effort from BMC at on home soil at the Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia.
His later years at EF Education First have seen him take a top 10 at Paris-Roubaix, but with just 26 race days in an injury-hit 2019 season, retirement rumours were a constant during his final season.
Simon Spilak, 33 (Katusha-Alpecin)
One of the more enigmatic riders on this list, Špilak's retirement was more out-of-the-blue than most. He ends a 12-year pro career spent at Lampre and Katusha with 12 victories, including two Tour de Suisse titles and one at the Tour of Romandie.
A specialist in short stage races, the Slovenian hadn't raced a Grand Tour since the 2014 Tour de France, a peculiarity in the peloton among riders of his ability.
As well as his successes in Switzerland, Špilak won the 2013 GP Miguel Indurain, a stage of the 2014 Critérium du Dauphiné, and the Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt in 2013.
Rubén Plaza, 39 (Israel Cycling Academy)
Veteran Spaniard Plaza draws his 19-year career to a close this season. The 39-year-old started out all the way back in 2001 with iBanesto.com, later moving to Kelme and then spending two years in Portugal after he was initially implicated in the 2006 Operacion Puerto scandal.
Plaza was cleared of all charges by the Spanish courts and, after spending four years with Movistar, enjoyed a late-career revival during his time with Lampre, Orica-GreenEdge, and Israel Cycling Academy.
The biggest of his 25 pro wins came in 2015 at the Tour de France and Vuelta a España. At the Tour he won a stage into Gap from a breakaway, and also triumphed in the same way in Cercedilla at the Vuelta, 10 years after his first stage win at the race, in a mountain time trial.
The final victory of Plaza's career came at the Vuelta a Castilla y León last year.
Adam Blythe, 30 (Lotto Soudal)
Blythe hangs up his wheels after 10 years in the peloton, spent at Lotto, BMC, GreenEdge, Tinkoff, Aqua Blue Sport, and, finally, Lotto once more. The Brit turned pro with the Belgian team in 2010 after moving to the country with the help of the Dave Rayner Fund.
The 30-year-old was among Philippe Gilbert's most trusted riders at the squad, to the extent that he moved to BMC alongside the Ardennes champion. A move to British Continental team NFTO the next year saw him take the biggest win of his career, the RideLondon Classic, and then the WorldTour beckoned once more.
Two years with sprinter Caleb Ewan (at GreenEdge and Lotto) bookmarked three seasons with Tinkoff and Aqua Blue. But at the end of a 2019 season during which his media commitments with Eurosport have grown, Blythe said that the sacrifices required to remain a pro rider were too great to continue his career.
Matti Breschel, 35 (EF Education First)
The second retiree from EF Education First on our list, Breschel ends his 15-year career with the American squad after struggling with psoriatic arthritis.
The Dane, who counts nine stages wins at the Tour of Denmark among his biggest wins, spent the bulk of his career at the CSC/Tinkoff team, with nine years on the roster under his belt.
After his initial spell at the team, which saw him win a stage at the 2008 Vuelta, take third at the 2008 Worlds road race, and win the 2010 Dwars door Vlaanderen, Brechel moved to Rabobank for two years before returning to the fold.
Breschel had a reputation as a cobbles specialist, taking top ten results at the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, and a number of the other cobbled Classics during his career.
In addition to those results, his palmares also included stage wins at the Volta a Catalunya, the Vuelta a Burgos, and the overall at the 2014 Tour de Luxembourg.
Breschel will be a directeur sportif for EF next season.
Lars Bak, 39 (Dimension Data)
Another Dane to end his career in 2019, Bak is the second-most experienced man on our list, having turned pro in 2002. He won the Tour de l'Avenir in 2005, but his reputation in the pro ranks was as a domestique, logging long days at the head of the peloton on behalf of his team.
Bak still managed to rack up a number of wins of his own during his career. Stage 11 of the 2012 Giro d'Italia, from the break, was the biggest, while there were also successes at the Danish time trial championships (twice), Paris-Bourges, the GP de Fourmies, and a stage of the 2009 Eneco Tour.
Maxime Monfort, 36 (Lotto Soudal)
Like Breschel, Monfort is another rider who will move into the team car next year. The Belgian called time on a 16-year career this year, with his last race being on home roads at the Famenne Ardenne Classic.
Monfort has five career victories to his name, including the 2009 Belgian time trial championship, the 2004 Tour of Luxembourg and the 2010 Bayern Rundfahrt, as well as time trial victories at both those stage races.
He recently saw his sixth place overall at the 2011 Vuelta a España upgraded to fifth after Juan José Cobo's disqualification, and rode the last of the 20 Grand Tours of his career at the Tour de France in July.
Other retirees in 2019
WorldTour: Bart De Clercq (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R La Mondiale), Hubert Dupont (AG2R La Mondiale), Jacques Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data), Steve Morabito (Groupama-FDJ), Benoît Vaugrenard (Groupama-FDJ), Daan Oliver (Jumbo-Visma), Roy Curvers (Team Sunweb), Markel Irizar (Trek-Segafredo), Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo), Manuele Mori (UAE Team Emirates), Roberto Ferrari (UAE Team Emirates).
Pro Continental: Matteo Montaguti (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Amaël Moinard (Arkéa-Samsic)Robert Wagner (Arkéa-Samsic), Brice Feillu (Arkéa-Samsic), , Maxime Daniel (Arkéa-Samsic), Nuno Bico (Burgos-BH), Antonio Molina (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Zico Waeytens (Cofidis), Ildar Arslanov (Gazprom-RusVelo), Zak Dempster (Israel Cycling Academy), Massimo Rosa (Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia), Evan Huffman (Rally UHC), Svein Tuft (Rally UHC), Krister Hagen (Riwal Readynez), Preben Van Hecke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Moreno De Pauw (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Perrig Quemeneur (Total Direct Energie), Yohann Gene (Total Direct Energie), Axel Journiaux (Total Direct Energie), Perrig Quéméneur (Total Direct Energie), Angelo Tulik (Total Direct Energie), Yohan Bagot (Vital Concept-B&B Hotels), Patrick Müller (Vital Concept-B&B Hotels), Marc Fournier (Vital Concept-B&B Hotels), Kenny Dehaes (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Lukas Spengler (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Marco Minnaard (Wanty-Groupe Gobert)
Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*
Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets
After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59
Join now for unlimited access
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1