José Vicente Garcia Acosta has called time on his career after seventeen seasons in the professional ranks. The 39-year-old Movistar rider had already intimated his desire to retire after this year’s Vuelta a España, but delayed making a formal announcement after he crashed out of the race on stage 5.
“This is a choice I had taken some months ago, and I would have liked to have taken it during the Vuelta a España, and on the bike,” Garcia Acosta said a statement issued on Tuesday. “However, an unexpected crash made me choose to wait until recovering from the accident before definitely making my future clear.”
The 39-year-old turned professional with Banesto in 1995 and remarkably he remained with the same structure through its subsequent incarnations as ibanesto.com, Illes Balears, Caisse d’Epargne and Movistar.
His finest hour came on Bastille Day at the 2000 Tour de France, when he captured the stage into Draguignan. The Spaniard also won stages at the Vuelta a España in 1997 and 2002.
A valued domestique to a succession of leaders, starting with Miguel Indurain, Garcia Acosta’s longevity saw him line up in the Tour de France twelve times. He also completed the Vuelta on no fewer than fourteen occasions. His 2011 crash marked the first time that he failed to make it to the finish in Madrid.
“I leave the sport with just a few victories, but they feel like much more,” he said. “[There were also] the victories of Miguel [Indurain], Abraham [Olano], Alex [Zülle], Chava [José Maria Jimenez], Óscar [Pereiro], Alejandro [Valverde]… I worked so much for my team leaders, but got such a big reward for that.”