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When to Retire from the Pro Peloton?

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Mar 18, 2009
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A lotta great comments in this thread!! I'll tell you one thing...I don't care how old he is, Nico Eeckhout (Rambo) can race as long as he wants. This is a guy who still shows up...maybe not as in his earlier years...but I sure as heck don't think he should throw in the towel. What a great rider...
 
Hindsight is 20-20, let's not bag on Bartoli too much. Lots of other riders went to CSC and got a career boost: Julich, O'Grady, Voigt, Hamilton, Cancellara, Sastre, JaJa, Basso-- all went up a level while riding at CSC. Julich and JaJa were the poster boys for that template of twilight careers being revived. Who can blame Michele for wanting to see for himself? It didn't work out, but again, that's hindsight. I don't think his teammates begruded his attempt, Julich wrote somewhere that Michele visited a CSC training camp post retirement and was warmly greeted.

Another name nobody has mentioned-- Cipo. It was almost like he made a Faustian deal, in 2002 he won M-SR (finally!!), Gent-Wevelgem and the WRC, but after that he never really had a high profile victory. I personally am glad that he came back for Rock even though the best he could do was 3rd in a ToCalifornia sprint because that was my one shot at seeing him live, and I must admit, even then, he exceed the hype-- I personally witnessed women swooning over him.
 
Aug 19, 2009
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BeachBum said:
Hindsight is 20-20, let's not bag on Bartoli too much. Lots of other riders went to CSC and got a career boost: Julich, O'Grady, Voigt, Hamilton, Cancellara, Sastre, JaJa, Basso-- all went up a level while riding at CSC. Julich and JaJa were the poster boys for that template of twilight careers being revived. Who can blame Michele for wanting to see for himself? It didn't work out, but again, that's hindsight. I don't think his teammates begruded his attempt, Julich wrote somewhere that Michele visited a CSC training camp post retirement and was warmly greeted.

Another name nobody has mentioned-- Cipo. It was almost like he made a Faustian deal, in 2002 he won M-SR (finally!!), Gent-Wevelgem and the WRC, but after that he never really had a high profile victory. I personally am glad that he came back for Rock even though the best he could do was 3rd in a ToCalifornia sprint because that was my one shot at seeing him live, and I must admit, even then, he exceed the hype-- I personally witnessed women swooning over him.

I agree with your take on Cipo. I wish he had of pulled the plug in 2003, so he wouldn't have been kicked around like he was in the 2004 Giro.

I've had a quick look at the other posts, and didn't see any mention of Pantani. The images of him struggling at the '03 Giro are heart breaking.
 
Bag_O_Wallet said:
I agree with your take on Cipo. I wish he had of pulled the plug in 2003, so he wouldn't have been kicked around like he was in the 2004 Giro.

I've had a quick look at the other posts, and didn't see any mention of Pantani. The images of him struggling at the '03 Giro are heart breaking.

Agreed on Pantani, blame that I squarely lay at the foot of his parasitic manager who insisted on returning him to competition and building an entire team around him, subjecting him to unrelenting pressure that fueled his descent in cocaine-escapism, rather than outing him publicly and getting him the in-patient drug rehabilitation treatment he needed.

You'd be forgiven for thinking Pantani slit his own wrists after reading her apologist book, but Matt Rendell torpedoes her version of history with his excellent "The Death of Marco Pantani."

Also agreed on Nico Eeckhout. Let the man ride until his inner-cyborg finally shuts-down. But how many more Merckx bikes will die in the meanwhile?

depanne07st1-rambo2.jpg
 
Mar 10, 2009
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BeachBum said:
Hindsight is 20-20, let's not bag on Bartoli too much. Lots of other riders went to CSC and got a career boost: Julich, O'Grady, Voigt, Hamilton, Cancellara, Sastre, JaJa, Basso-- all went up a level while riding at CSC. Julich and JaJa were the poster boys for that template of twilight careers being revived.
I'm not sure I'd place Laurent Jalabert with Bobby Julich. Aside from his 3rd place in the 98 TdF, his resume was rather thin until he signed with CSC.

Jaja however had a storied past before CSC. I'd place his time at CSC with Erik Zabel's twilight. Both were incredible ambassadors for the sport and their teams, as well as highly motivational senior members of not just their squad, but whatever peleton they found themselves in.

Watching both in their last TdF's was inspirational. Much different than watching Cipo struggles (Rock Racing) on the roads of California.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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joe_papp said:
Agreed on Pantani, blame that I squarely lay at the foot of his parasitic manager who insisted on returning him to competition and building an entire team around him, subjecting him to unrelenting pressure that fueled his descent in cocaine-escapism, rather than outing him publicly and getting him the in-patient drug rehabilitation treatment he needed.
I've often wondered if Pantani's downfall was significantly aided by his plummet from the top due to PED's. And no, not his, rather that in 1998 he was on top of the world. Along comes LA and Ulrich, and a host of others that suddenly could match his unbelievable climbing abilities (and yes I think he doped as well) success in 1997 and 1998. I recall his 1997 climb on L'Alpe d'Huez where he rode by the field as if they were wildflowers waiting to be collected.
 
Wouldn't the short answer to OP's question simply be whenever you feel like it? (With a few exceptions of course...)
If you can still get a decent pay and your form is for it why should you stop just because you reach a certain age? On the other hand; why continue if you really don't want to?
 
Jul 22, 2009
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Joe, here is a post I wrote last week on Robbie- I think his (and Lance's to some extent) problem is not age, its that they have turned nice and happy. Both of these fellas built their careers (sort of) on being angry and fighting with other riders. Sooner they get back to that, especially Robbie, the sooner we may see a few results in his twilight.

Note: Bogan is an Australian term - closest comparison in Americanese is redneck - but not quite the same.
 
RedheadDane said:
Wouldn't the short answer to OP's question simply be whenever you feel like it? (With a few exceptions of course...)
If you can still get a decent pay and your form is for it why should you stop just because you reach a certain age? On the other hand; why continue if you really don't want to?

Yes, of course the rider can retire when he wants - or when he can no longer find a team to pay him - but I was speaking more of the point at which fans no longer afford their champions the same respect/admiration as continued activity returns an every-shrinking pool of results (unless the rider has managed to convince the team and his fans that he is no longer being paid to win, but rather, as a mentor to younger riders). This is a chance for you to say if there is a rider who you supported quite earnestly but perhaps became less-enthused about as he continued racing without being able to perform his job as before...reducing his standing in your eyes and lessening your interest in supporting him. Or not.

Thanks though for defending the riders' right to work, and the teams' right to pay over-the-hill pro's to continue riding :p