Vuelta a Espana - Former Tour winner Pereiro set to retire

Reuters - Thu, 05 Aug 16:08:00 2010

Former Tour de France champion Oscar Pereiro is 90 per cent certain of retiring at the end of the season and wants to finish with a final flourish in the Vuelta a Espana.

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"I want to go back to my roots, not think too much about the overall classification, just focus on four and five stages and try and pick off one," Pereiro, 33, said at the start of stage five in the Tour of Poland.

"Assuming I do retire, which is looking 90 per cent certain, pulling down the curtain on my career on home soil with the Vuelta in the centre of Madrid will be a great way to go."

Pereiro inherited the 2006 Tour de France title when American Floyd Landis was stripped of the win after testing positive for testosterone.

Since his victory, Pereiro has struggled to shine in cycling's flagship event, finishing 10th overall in 2007, crashing out in 2008 and abandoning mid-race in 2009.

The Astana rider was left out of the team for this year's Tour and said the decision not to take him as a support rider for Alberto Contador successful title bid had influenced his decision to retire.

"More than not being selected, it was the fact I had worked really hard for the Tour and then found myself at home," Pereiro, from Spain's remote north-west region of Galicia said.

"If I'd gone to the Tour, I might well have gone on for another year.

"That said, I understand Astana's decision because they had to bring a certain number of riders from the team's home country, Kazakhstan.

"But I won't deny it increased my desire to move on and start thinking about other things in life than cycling," he added.

After Poland, where he is 155th overall, Pereiro will take part either in the GP Ouest France or the Tour of Limousin in France before heading to the Tour of Spain start on August 28 in Seville.

"The young riders are getting stronger and stronger, breathing down your neck all the time," Pereiro said.

"Racing's changed a lot since I turned pro, too, it's a lot more nervous compared with the old days when we'd take it easy in the first half of the stage.

"When you're racing along and you're find yourself thinking too often 'what am I doing here?' you know it's time for you to quit."


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