Christophe Moreau organised a mini press conference with less than ten reporters attending to announce the end of his career when his contract with Caisse d'Epargne finishes at the end of this year.
"After sixteen years as a pro, with good and bad moments, I've decided to retire very officially," Moreau said in the presence of his wife and two children. At the age of 39, he's the oldest rider at this year's Tour de France as he was born five months before Lance Armstrong and Jens Voigt.
Armstrong's crashes during stage 8 have influenced his decision. The day before, he was still hoping that Caisse d'Epargne's team manager Eusebio Unzue would tell him he has found another sponsor and would offer him another contract. "Nobody can be sure to avoid a catastrophe, I wouldn't like to be forced to retire after a crash like Armstrong had yesterday," Moreau said. "I've always ridden my bike for being at the front of the race. During the coming two weeks, I'll look for a last emotion at the Tour."
Moreau started his career with Festina in 1995 and was a member of the infamous team which was kicked out of the 1998 Tour de France. He won the Dauphiné twice (2001 and 2006) and the prologue of the Tour de France in 2001.
"I'm turning the page," he said. But former double winner of the Tour de France, Laurent Fignon, was prompt to recall on the radio station Europe 1 that "he already said last year that it was his last Tour, so be careful of a possible change of mind!"
Moreau considered retiring at the end of his contract with Ag2r in 2007 and every year since. He ruled out the option of becoming a directeur sportif.