Sylvain Chavanel: Looking back on 19 years as a pro – Gallery

Sylvain Chavanel pulled down the curtain on a 19-year pro career at the Chrono des Nations time trial in Les Herbiers, France, on Sunday, and says that he'll now take the time to decide what to do next.

He told France 3 in a TV interview that we wouldn't mind starting his own pro team one day, but acknowledged that putting something like that together doesn't just happen overnight, so don't be surprised to see him making appearances at various races next season as he makes the transition from rider to former rider.

The 39-year-old Frenchman has enjoyed a hugely successful couple of decades at the top of his game, taking 45 career wins, including victory at the 2014 Bretagne Classic Ouest-France, three stage wins at the Tour de France – with two spells in the yellow jersey as leader of the Tour in 2010 – plus three stage wins at Paris-Nice, the 2011 French road race championships and six national time trial titles.

He also holds the record for the most starts at the Tour de France, with 18 – finishing 16 of them – having ridden in his home race every year from 2001 to his last ride at La Grande Boucle this summer.

While extremely useful against the clock, Chavanel became best known as a breakaway specialist, and it was that panache as a have-a-go hero that both netted him a number of wins but also – perhaps most importantly – endeared him to the French public, who arguably love a rider who tries to win more than a rider who actually wins.

Check out our giant gallery above of some of the best and most memorable moments of Chavanel's 19-year career.

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