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Christian Knees calls time on 17-year career

OUDENAARDE BELGIUM OCTOBER 18 Christian Knees of Germany and Team INEOS Grenadiers Mechanical Problem during the 104th Tour of Flanders 2020 Ronde van Vlaanderen Men Elite a 2433km race from Antwerpen to Oudenaarde RVV20 FlandersClassic on October 18 2020 in Oudenaarde Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Christian Knees (Ineos Grenadiers) at the Tour of Flanders (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Christian Knees has retired from pro cycling, drawing a 17-year career to a close and immediately moving to a staff role at Ineos Grenadiers.

The German, who turns 40 in March, has spent 10 seasons at the British squad having joined from Milram in its second year back in 2011. He'll take up a role in the team's racing and performance departments.

Knees, who competed in 19 Grand Tours during his career, was part of four Grand Tour-winning teams during his time at Ineos. He rode for Bradley Wiggins at the 2011 Tour de France, the team's first GT win, and assisted Chris Froome in winning the 2017 Tour and Vuelta a España, as well as the 2018 Giro d'Italia.

"17 years is a long time. To be a professional at 39 years old is not something many people can say," Knees said in an Ineos press release. "At some point you need to retire and it's always hard to end a chapter – but I'm really proud of what I achieved.

"The Grand Tour wins with the team – being there in 2012 with Bradley, and to be alongside Froomey at the start of the Tour in Germany in 2017. There are so many good memories, not to mention spending 10 years in one of the world's best sports teams.

"It was always a goal that I wanted to do three consecutive Grand Tours in a year. I wanted to see how that would feel. In the end with Froomey we didn't do three in a single year, but we went to consecutive Grand Tours and won all of them.

"That was something really special. I was the only guy who was with him at all three of those Grand Tours. It wasn't that much recognised in public, but for me it's not about that – I love my job and I like that I can look back and tell my grandchildren about this one day."

Knees' best personal results included wins at the German National Championships in 2010, the Rund um Köln, and the Bayern Rundfahrt in 2008. His top Grand Tour result was 19th at the 2009 Tour de France for Milram.

"On a personal level, being the national champion of Germany in 2010 and wearing that jersey for a year was a big honour. Winning my home race at Rund um Köln and also winning Bayern Rundfahrt – these are some really nice results that I can look back on with my head held high. Now it's a good time to have some different adventures but will always ride my bike. I love riding and I love training.

"I'm staying with the team next year which I'm really happy with. Initially it's going to be a year of trying different angles and new things off the bike, looking at how I can best help the team be successful." 

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