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14 riders who retired in 2016

It might only be November, but for many the preparations for the 2017 season have already begun in earnest. For a few riders, that familiar pain of returning to the bike after a brief off-season is no more as they look ahead to the next stage in their lives

While some changed their minds - step forward Alberto Contador and Joaquim Rodriguez - there were a whole host of riders who called 2016 their last in the professional ranks. Some were long-planned, and some were forced due to illness and injury. Cyclingnews has collated a list of this season's most notable retirees. 

Fabian Cancellara

Turned professional: 2001
Teams: Mapei-QuickStep (2001-2002), Fassa Bortolo (2003-2005), CSC/Saxo Bank (2006-2010), Leopard-Trek (2011), RadioShack-Nissan/Trek Factory Racing (2012-2016)
Rider type: Time Triallist, Classics
Biggest results: Olympic time trial champion (2008/2016), world time trial champion (2006/2007/2009/2010), Tour of Flanders (2010/2013/2014), Paris-Roubaix (2006/2010/2013), Milan-San Remo (2008), Tour de France stage x7.
What next?: Cancellara has had plenty of time to ponder his retirement after announcing it last year. He hasn’t laid out any firm plans for but he’s likely to be kept busy as a brand ambassador for Trek Bicycles. He also hopes to do some studying but says that a full degree is not for him. His vast knowledge of the Classics will be invaluable to Trek-Segafredo and no doubt he’ll be around to offer his advice.

Michael Rogers

Turned professional: 2001
Teams: Mapei-QuickStep (2001-2002), QuickStep-Davitamon (2003-2005). T-Mobile/HTC-Colombia (2006-2010), Team Sky (2011-2012), Tinkoff-Saxo (2014-2016).
Rider type: Time triallist, domestique
Biggest results: World time trial champion (2003/2004/2005), Tour de France stage (2014), Giro d’Italia stage x2 (2014), Tour of California overall (2010).
What next?: A heart problem forced Rogers to retire at the start of 2016 after just two days of racing at the Dubai Tour - he had already opted out of the Tour Down Under. In May, Rogers joined up with his former boss Bjarne Riis as the CEO of the Riis-Seier Project, which is the owner of the Virtu Pro-VéloConcept Continental team.

Jesse Sergent

Turned professional: 2011
Teams: RadioShack/Trek Factory Racing (2011-2015), AG2R-La Mondiale (2016)
Rider type: Classics
Biggest results: Driesdaagse van West-Vlaanderen (2011), Olympic Games team pursuit bronze (2008/2012).
What next?: Sergent is another rider who had retirement foisted upon him after a crash with a neutral service vehicle at last year’s Tour of Flanders. After a challenging start to the 2016 season, he announced the end of his career. He has since moved back home to New Zealand and, if his Instagram account is anything to go by, he hasn’t turned his back on the bike and appears to be enjoying his new-found freedom.

Ryder Hesjedal

Turned professional: 2004
Teams: US Postal Service/Discovery Channel (2004-2006), Phonak (2006), Health Net presented by Maxxis (2007), Slipstream/Garmin (2008-2015), Trek-Segafredo (2016).
Rider type: General Classification
Biggest results: Giro d’Italia (2012), Vuelta a Espana stage x2 (2009/2014)
What next?: Hesjedal has been pretty vague about what he wants to do in this next part of his life. Speaking to Cyclingnews last month, he hinted that he may well race next season but at a lower level than before. He was adamant that he wouldn’t leave cycling totally behind.

Jean-Christophe Peraud

Turned professional: 2010
Teams: Omega Pharma-Lotto (2010), AG2R La Mondiale (2011-2016)
Rider type: General Classification
Biggest results: 2nd overall at the Tour de France (2014), Criterium International (2014/2015).
What next?: Peraud made a late switch from mountain biking to the road in 2010, joining the Omega Pharma-Lotto team. After a year there he moved to AG2R-La Mondiale where he found success at the Tour de France. He ended his career at the Vuelta a Espana and, while he has yet to make any concrete plans for his retirement, he has said that he hopes to remain in cycling. He may well join the other former pros as a directeur sportif at AG2R-La Mondiale, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Matt Goss

Turned professional: 2007
Teams: CSC/Saxo Bank (2007-2009), HTC-Columbia (2010-2011), Orica-GreenEdge (2012-2014), MTN-Qhubeka (2015), One Pro Cycling (2016).
Rider type: Sprinter
Biggest results: Milan-San Remo (2011), Giro d’Italia stage x2 (2010/2012)
What next?: Despite some protestations to the contrary, Goss’ zest for racing seemed to disappear some time ago. He finally admitted that to himself partway through this season and decided to call an end to his career. Goss hasn’t quite said goodbye yet, with the Stan Siejka Classic on November 27 still to come. Like several of the others, he is keen to remain in cycling in some form but is still making plans as to exactly what his role will be.

Frank Schleck

Turned professional: 2003
Teams: CSC/Saxo Bank (2003-2010), Leopard-Trek (2011), RadioShack/Trek Factory Racing (2012-2016).
Rider type: Climber
Biggest results: Amstel Gold Race (2006), Tour de Suisse (2010), Tour de France stage x2 (2006/2009), Vuelta a Espana stage (2015).
What next: First up for Schleck will be some time with his family and perhaps a bit of fishing with his already retired brother Andy. A Gran Fondo is also in the pipeline for him, which will be on next year’s World Series calendar on May 20. Schleck has admitted that it is taking time for him to adjust to his new lifestyle and is still regularly training.

Christian Meier

Turned professional: 2009
Teams: Garmin-Chipotle (2010), UnitedHealthcare (2011), Orica-GreenEdge (2012-2016)
Rider type: All-rounder
Biggest results: Canadian national road race (2008), sprint classification Volta a Catalunya (2013)
What next?: Meier has plied his trade as a domestique very well during his time at Orica-GreenEdge but now he will be focusing his efforts on his other passion in life: coffee. Meier owns two coffee shops in Girona, Spain, La Fabrica Girona and Espresso Mafia. He had another year to run on his contract, but the lure of coffee proved too much for 2017.

Phil Gaimon

Turned professional: 2014
Teams: Garmin-Sharp (2014), Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies (2015), Cannondale (2016).
Rider type: Climber
Biggest results: Redlands Classic overall (2012/2015), stage and second overall at Tour de San Luis (2014).
What next?: Gaimon spent most of his career at Continental level, finally turning professional in 2014. He was unable to find a WorldTour berth for 2017 and said no to a return to Continental racing in order to give younger riders a shot. During his racing, Gaimon has kept has also turned his hand to writing and that will be an avenue for him. He also told Cyclingnews that he had pitched an idea for a TV travel show that is ‘based around bikes'.

Xabier Zandio

Turned professional: 2001
Teams: d’Epargne (2001-2010), Team Sky (2011-2016).
Rider type: Climber/Domestique
Biggest results: Vuelta a Burgos (2008), TTT Giro d’Italia (2013)
What next?: Zandio announced his retirement in September after 16 years at the top level of cycling. He is a rarity on this list in that he has no real intentions of remaining in cycling. Closing in on his 40th birthday, Zandio is keen to spend time with his wife and two children.

Bradley Wiggins

Turned professional: 2002
Teams: FDJ (2002-2003), Credit Agricole (2004-2005), Cofidis (2006-2007), High Road (2008), Garmin-Chipotle (2009), Team Sky (2010-2015), Team WIGGINS (2015-2016)
Rider type: General Classification/Time Triallist/Track
Biggest results: Tour de France (2012), Olympic Games time trial champion (2012), World time trial champion (2014), Criterium du Dauphine (2011/2012), Tour of California (2014), Olympic Games track gold medal x5
What next?: This one should perhaps come with an asterisk as Wiggins has hinted that he could be tempted to race in 2017 if the money was right. Wiggins has not raced much on the road in the past 12 months as he put his focus on track for the Olympic Games in Rio. The Gent Six Day, which he won with Mark Cavendish, was supposed to be his final hurrah, but we’ll have to wait and see if he will actually retire at the end of this year. 

Johan Vansummeren

Turned professional: 2004
Teams: Relax-Bodysol (2004), Davitamon-Lotto (2005-2009), Garmin (2010-2014), AG2R-La Mondiale (2015-2016).
Rider type: Classics
Biggest results: Paris-Roubaix (2011), Tour de Pologne overall (2007), Duo Normand (2011)
What next?: Vansummeren didn’t get much of this season under his belt before he was forced to take time out due to a heart condition. He had hoped to return to racing but finally announced in June that he would retire. With such a sudden retirement, Vansummeren didn’t have any firm plans put in place but he told Belgian magazine Knack that he was considering studying again and getting involved in youth cycling.

Dominik Nerz

Turned professional: 2010
Teams: Milram (2010), Liquigas (2011-2012), BMC Racing (2013-2014), Bora-Argon 18 (2015-2016).
Rider type: Climber
Biggest results: TTT Giro del Trentino (2015), 14th overall Vuelta a Espana (2013)
What next?: Nerz had been a growing talent in stage racing, but a series of head injuries pushed him to make the difficult decision to leave professional cycling. For now, the German is focusing on getting back to full health before he considers his next step in life. He estimated that it could take a year before he is fully recovered.

Yaroslav Popovych

Turned professional: 2002
Teams: Landbouwcrediet-Colnago (2002-2004), Discover Channel (2005-2007), Silence-Lotto (2008), Astana (2009), RadioShack/Trek Factory Racing (2012-2016).
Rider type: Rouleur
Biggest results: Volta a Catalunya overall (2005), Young rider classification Tour de France (2005), Paris-Nice stage (2007).
What next?: Popovych made his retirement from cycling immediately after Paris-Roubaix in April. Since then, he has been using his extensive experience of the peloton as a directeur sportif for the Trek-Segafredo team.

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Born in Ireland to a cycling family and later moved to the Isle of Man, so there was no surprise when I got into the sport. Studied sports journalism at university before going on to do a Masters in sports broadcast. After university I spent three months interning at Eurosport, where I covered the Tour de France. In 2012 I started at Procycling Magazine, before becoming the deputy editor of Procycling Week. I then joined Cyclingnews, in December 2013.