• Joaquim Rodriguez at the 2016 Clasica San Sebastian. (Getty)Source: Getty
The long-running retirement saga of Spanish great Joaquim 'Purito' Rodriguez has come to an end with the diminutive rider finally deciding to call it a day.
By
Cycling Central

10 Dec 2016 - 10:24 AM  UPDATED 10 Dec 2016 - 10:25 AM

Rodriguez will instead lend his technical experience to new WorldTour team Bahrain-Merida through the 2017/18 seasons.

After earlier announcing his retirement while riding with Katusha, the 37-year-old had a change of heart and said there was unfinished business to take car of and that he would continue for another season.

“After taking enough time to think and also trying to come back to a working routine, I realised it was not possible for me,” Rodriguez said. "So, with the support of my family and friends, I decided not to come back to the competition at the highest of levels.

Joaquim Rodriguez to retire at end of 2016
Joaquim Rodriguez has announced to the Tour de France press pack that he will end his professional career at the end of this year.

“I would like to thank everyone that encouraged me to come back. I am honoured and you really made my decision difficult, but I believe it is better not to come back if I am not sure I can do it at the top level and be competitive to offer my fans what they deserve.

“Of course, I am grateful also to Bahrain-Merida. They believed in me, they gave me all the conditions to return and they gave me the freedom of choice, but I realised, speaking with them, that I am not prepared physically and mentally, for a 100 per cent come back.

“I wanted to announce this before the start of the new season because the riders are the protagonists and they deserve the full attention.

Purito un-quits for sweet gig with Bahrain-Merida
In its quest for one of 17 WorldTour slots, newly constituted team Bahrain-Merida has lured Joaquim 'Purito' Rodriguez, and the points he carries, out of retirement for 2017.

“Having said this, I am very proud to announce that In the future I will work for Bahrain-Merida, and contribute, help and transmit my experience and knowledge to the young riders in the team. It is a big challenge and I am very grateful to the team for this amazing opportunity.

“After a 17-year cycling career, I hope I can continue my work confidently in my new role and stay connected with cycling and cycling fans. And as I said at the past Tour the France, thank you, cycling. You are and always will be, the best thing that happened in my life. Thank you, everyone.”