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David Cañada announces retirement from racing

David Cañada (Saunier Duval) finishes the 2008 GP Lugano.

David Cañada (Saunier Duval) finishes the 2008 GP Lugano. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Former ONCE, Mapei, Quick Step and Saunier Duval rider David Cañada has announced his retirement from racing just a month after completing his treatment for skin cancer. The 34-year-old Spaniard had hoped to extend his 14-year career into this season, but has decided to look at other opportunities after what is now the Footon-Servetto team decided not to offer him a new deal.

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A popular rider who proved a strong domestique, Cañada enjoyed two purple patches in his career. The first came in his final season with ONCE, in 2000, when he claimed the overall titles at the Tour of Murcia and the Circuit de la Sarthe. In 2006, riding for Saunier Duval, he won the overall title at the Tour of Catalonia.

Cañada missed all of the 2009 season due to his treatment for cancer, but always expected to return to racing. He admitted that being denied the chance to come back was the only disappointment he would carry with him into retirement. "I am a bit disappointed because I had faith in that team, Fuji-Servetto. They told me there would be no problems [to continue], that they still had faith in me. They were saying that right up to October when they sent me a letter saying they would not be re-signing me," Cañada said.

Speaking last month, Cañada had said the decision taken by Footon-Servetto managers Mauro Gianetti and Matxín Rodríguez had come too late in the season for him to be able to follow up possible leads with other teams. He added that a rejection at that point in the year wouldn't have looked good to prospective employers either given he was only just starting to train again as his treatment for cancer neared its conclusion.

Cañada expressed his hope that he can stay in the sport. "I don't want to break my link with it but I don't know where my path will lead me now. I just have to wait and see what projects come along," he said. "In the last few years I was really able to savour what I was doing and it was a privilege being able to dedicate myself to what I enjoyed above anything else, as well as being paid for doing it."

He acknowledged that he had had setbacks at every team he'd ridden for, but feels more than compensated for that by the many friendships he has made. He concluded by saying the biggest difference between cycling at the start of his career and its current state was that "when I started cyclists were held in great esteem and had a good image. If a son said to his father that he wanted to be a cyclist, the father would have been delighted. Nowadays, unfortunately, he probably would not be as easily convinced."

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).