Even riders who win three World championship titles or multiple mountain titles at the Vuelta a Espana must retire at some point. Oscar Freire and David Moncoutie are two of the leading riders in the second part of Cyclingnews' photographic look back at the riders who have called it a day in 2012.
Oscar Freire can proudly claim the records for winning both the World road championship and Milan-San Remo three times. The Spaniard spent only two years on a Spanish team -he started out with Vitalicio Seguros, passing much of his career with Rabobank (2003-2011). His greatest successes were in one-day races, not only the above-mentioned Worlds and Milan-San Remo, but also Gent-Wevelgem, the Vattenfall Cyclassics, Paris-Tours and Brabantse Pijl (three times). He also did well in the Tour de France, with four stage wins and one points jersey green jersey, and the Vuelta a Espana with seven stages. He also won Tirreno-Adriatico in 2005.
Canada's Michael Barry announced his retirement shortly before the disclosures of his testimony in the Lance Armstrong case and his resulting six month suspension. Barry had ridden professionally since 1999, with Saturn, USPS, T-Mobile and Team Sky. He brought in a minimal number of wins, mostly serving as a high-class domestique. He has also written three books about his experiences in the peloton.
David Moncoutie is a Frenchman who was King of the Spanish mountains. He spent all 17 years of his career with Cofidis, an oddity in this day and age. Moncoutie won two stages at the Tour de France but most of his most recent glory is associated with the Vuelta a Espana. Not only did he win four stages in the race over the years, he took the mountains classification for four consecutive years, from 2008 to 2011.
Rubens Bertogliati had a solid 12-year career as a pro but can boast of leading the Tour de France. While riding for Lampre in 2002, the Swiss rider won the first stage of the Tour and held on the leader's yellow jersey for two days. That was the highlight of his career, which he ended with Team Type 1. In later years he also took two national time trial titles.
Like so many first-generation Kazakh riders, Dimitriy Fofonov came up through the French ranks, spending a number of years with Cofidis and Credit Agricole. He tested positive for heptaminol at the 2008 Tour de France and was banned for two years. Fofonov closed out his career with three years at Astana.
Joost Posthuma was forced into retirement when he was unable to find a new contract for 2013. After nine years in the Rabobank ranks, he hard-working domestique signed with Leopard-Trek in 2011 and was with RadioShack this year. He saw himself as a victim of the UCI's points system, saying, “there are many teams that need ProTour points and, to be honest, I have none. Teams need points in order to remain in the top tier.”
View part 1 of Cyclingnews' photographic look back on riders who retired in 2012