Cyril Dessel has announced he retiring at the end of the season. The Frenchman has ridden professionally since 2000 and wore the yellow jersey for a stage during the 2006 Tour de France.
Dessel, 36, made his announcement on the website of the French cycling federation. “I've made my decision, I am stopping,” he said. “The life of a high-level athlete, life as being a professional stops at this point for me. I will now take a break and think about the future.”
The highly respected Frenchman turned pro with Jean Delatour and then rode with Phonak in 2003 and 2004 before joining Ag2r. In 2006 he finished sixth overall in the Tour de France, wearing both the leader's jersey and mountain jersey for one stage. That same year he won both the Tour de Mediterraneen and the Tour de l'Ain. In 2008 he won stages at the Four Days of Dunkirk, Volta a Catalunya and the Criterium du Dauphine Libere.
Dessel is not the only veteran rider deciding to call it a day and hang up his wheels. Andrea Noe of Farnese Vini retired after this year's Giro d'Italia at the age of 42, Inigo Cuesta, who also turned 42 this year, retired from racing after his Caja Rural team did not receive an invitation to the Vuelta a Espana. Carlos Sastre, 36, has said he will announce his future plans on Thursday.
However other riders in that age range will continue to race in 2012. Jens Voigt, who turns 40 on Saturday, has already signed a contract to ride for RadioShack-Nissan-Trek next year, where he will meet up with Chris Horner, who turns 40 in October. Robbie McEwen, 39, will ride the first part of the 2012 season with GreenEdge before serving as a technical advisor.