Menchov announces retirement

2009 Giro d'Italia winner Denis Menchov (Katusha) has announced his retirement with immediate effect. The 35-year-old was scheduled to ride this year's Giro but was ruled out with a knee injury.

"Then came the realization that it is time to stop my sporting career," said Menchov.

After missing out the Giro, Mechov had been scheduled to ride the Dauphine in June. The team has yet to make an announcement, but Cyclingnews contacted Hans-Michael Holczer, who is now working with the team for the second time, and he was unaware of the news.

Cyclingnews then spoke to Menchov’s agent Ramondo Scimone, who was able to add that “He’s already thought about stopping at the end of the year, but his knee problems have accelerated everything. The doctors were saying he’d also have to miss the Tour to make a full recovery. He’s decided to end it now."

Menchov turned professional in 1999 with Banesto and won the Tour de l'Avenir in 2001. In 2003, he finished 11th in the Tour de France and picked up the white jersey. Two years later, the Russian picked up the first of his two Vuelta a Espana titles, the second of which followed in 2007. A Giro crown was won in 2009, and Mechov finished on the Tour de France podium in 2008 and 2010.

His last significant win came on stage 20 of the Vuelta last year when he won atop Bola del Mondo. As well as riding for Banesto, Mechov also turned out for Rabobank, Geox TMC and Katusha.

Nicknamed the "Silent Assassin", Mechov also courted controversy. In 2009, he was called to Vienna, Austria, to answer questions in relation to the "Human Plasma" case and although he was never charged with a doping offence and denied all allegations, in 2012, in an extensive investigative report, the Dutch newspaper NRC claimed to have proof that Boogerd, Thomas Dekker, Menchov and Michael Rasmussen all traveled to Austria for blood doping whilst riding for Rabobank.

Two years later in a leaked document put together by the UCI, he was listed as a "9" in their "Index of Suspicion." Riders were ranked with numbers from zero to 10, with zero being no suspicion, and ten being the maximum.

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