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Cadel Evans announces his retirement - but stays on with BMC

Australia's first world champion and Tour de France winner hangs wheels up...

Cadel Evans, who won the road race at the UCI Road World Championships in 2009 in Mendriso, Switzerland and the Tour de France in 2011, has confirmed his retirement from professional cycling in February next year.

In a press conference yesterday in Ponferrada, Spain, the 37-year-old said he will finish his career at a new race that bears his name – the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, in February.

Il Lomardia on 5 October will be his last top-flight race in Europe, and he plans to ride the first WorldTour race of next year, the Tour Down Under, in his native Australia.

Evans, whose rainbow jersey win came on home roads - he lives near Mendrisio with his wife, Chiara - said: "I feel it is the right time to end my journey in competitive professional cycling,

"It has been the journey of more than a lifetime, something I could never have envisioned when first experiencing the joy of riding a bike on the dirt roads of Bamylli in the Northern Territory. It is amazing how far two wheels can take a person."

Evans continued: "A special thank you goes to my current and final team and to the many fans and people around the world who just enjoy riding a bike. Thank you – and keep riding."

Team manager Jim Ochowicz said: "It is going to be a big change for us not to have Cadel racing with the team after his last race in Australia next year."

He will continue to work with the BMC brand, and Ochowicz went on: "We will miss his leadership and the high level experience and performance he brought to the BMC Racing Team.

"Both Andy Rihs [team owner] and I extend our thanks to Cadel for all he has done for the team and look forward to continuing our work together with him into the future through his role as an ambassador for BMC Switzerland."

He added: "When Cadel started with us, we were basically a pro continental team just getting off the ground.

"He brought a whole new level of expectations and experience and that we lacked.

"Over time, we worked well together and were able to create some very dynamic moments over the years, particularly the 2011 Tour de France that brought us a place in the history books we will all be proud of the rest of our lives."

Evans added: "For me this is not the end, but the beginning of a new chapter of my life in cycling."

He is one of the select group of riders to have worn the leader's jersey in each of cycling's three Grand Tours, and has also won the one-day Classic, La Flèche Wallonne, in 2010, whle wearing the rainbow jersey.

Speaking about Evans' planned partiipation in next year's Tour Down Under, South Australia's tourism minister, Leon Bignell, said: “Cadel may have some unfinished business here in Adelaide, after he was beaten by fellow Australian Simon Gerrans by just one second in this year’s Santos Tour Down Under.

“All Australians are proud of Cadel’s achievements, and during his nine appearances at the Tour Down Under he has certainly become a crowd favourite.

“Confirmation that he’ll be racing with his BMC Racing team in the 2015 event should generate even more national and international interest. It will be great to welcome him back to Adelaide for the final time,” he added.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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