BMC Development rider Ignazio Moser has announced his retirement from professional cycling at the age of 22. The Italian cyclist who is the son of Francesco Moser, a former World Champion and Giro d'Italia champion, decided to hang up his wheels as he found he no longer had the passion to race.
"I stopped for the past three weeks," he told Trentino Corriere. "I rode my last race on the third Sunday of August, then I decided to say enough is enough."
Moser won a stage at the UCI 2.2 Tour Cycliste International de la Guadeloupe in early August, but it was the last race he finished.
Having considered the realities of an early retirement, Moser explained that several factors contributed to his decision to cease racing and turn his attention to working in the family vineyard.
"I came to a conclusion for a number of reasons," he said. "From a certain point of view, I do not like cycling anymore. I felt that it was no longer my life. I found it hard ... hard to do the work ... to make sense of it. I do not speak a lot of the physical effort, but just the life of the cyclist. I think that when you start doing this kind of reasoning, it is already too late."
It is a decision that his father Francesco respects, saying, "Maybe he could have waited another year before stopping, but the choice of Ignazio was heavy, and as a father, I respect it."
A promising young rider, Moser was the 2010 Junior Italian national individual pursuit champion and the silver medallist in the junior road race in the same year but a long career in cycling appeared unlikely as he explained.
"Five years ago, when I was 17, I had already stopped for a season," he said. "But I was still young. I still had time to get back in the saddle. Now I'm 22-years-old, yet a boy it is true, but I also have another maturity, another consciousness.
"The way I see it, and as I lived in the family home, Mosers have always conceived the sport as one of 'excellence.' The life of cycling at a high level involves a certain lifestyle and certain sacrifices, which I think is worth supporting only if you have excellent results.
"There are many professionals willing to make a career as a domestique, from January to October, and thus earn a living. It is a respectable choice, but my character does not allow me to be so. I do not know whether it is lucky or not, but this is what I think and feel."
Grateful for the opportunities that cycling has given him and for how it enriched his life, Moser explained that he couldn't imagine continuing without giving 100%.
"Cycling has also allowed me to travel a lot and I will keep a wonderful memory of these years," he said. "But then you get to an age in which one asks questions: will cycling give me a full life or is there a danger of it becoming a fad and me not going to work? I know that I've come to where I am due to my legs and I decided to stop here."
Moser said the family winery will become his new career but he will first take some time to discover other lines of work and what life off the bike involves.
"I see my future in the family business," he said. "First, however, I would like to do some work experience outside, because I think it's important for me and for my growth as a professional."