Filippo Pozzato announced his retirement on Tuesday, bringing the curtain down on a long, varied and colourful career. The Italian was among the longest-serving riders in the peloton, having started his professional career in 2000.
From the outset, Pozzato was lauded as a predestinato and he bypassed the amateur category by moving directly from junior racing to Mapei, the peloton’s most star-studded team.
After a three-year apprenticeship, Pozzato hit the big time when he moved to Fassa Bortolo in 2003, winning Tirreno-Adriatico as a 21-year-old that same season. Stage wins at the Tour de France and victory at the 2006 Milan-San Remo soon followed, but while Pozzato became a consistent performer in the Classics, he endured more heartbreak than happiness in the Monuments.
Second place finishes at Milan-San Remo (2008), Paris-Roubaix (2009) and the Tour of Flanders (2012) – not to mention 4th at the 2010 Worlds in Geelong – saw Pozzato cast as a nearly-man, and routinely criticised for his apparent failure to land the biggest prizes.
Pozzato’s charisma and articulacy meant that he remained one of the Italian gruppo’s biggest names even after his star had begun to wane in recent seasons. His reputation was enough to secure wildcards for Wilier-Triestina, while he developed a large following on social media and became something of a fixture on Rai television’s Processo alla Tappa post-race show during his final Giro d’Italia appearances.
Although linked with a move to the revamped CCC team earlier in 2018, Pozzato began to ponder retirement over the summer and he confirmed a decision long since taken on Tuesday morning.
Scroll through the gallery above for an overview of Pozzato’s career, which saw him ride for Mapei, Fassa Bortolo, Quick-Step, Liquigas, Katusha, Vini Fantini, Lampre and Wilier.