Stuart O’Grady (Orica-GreenEdge) will ride for one more season and then retire after the 2014 Tour de France, he said in a team announcement on Wednesday.
O’Grady, who turns 40 in August, has ridden in the last 16 Tours de France and helped three riders — Andy Schleck, Frank Schleck, and Carlos Sastre — to a combined six podium finishes. The Aussie finished 14 of those races, and has racked up two stage wins and nine days in the yellow leader’s jersey.
“I have been getting asked more and more when I’m going to retire,” O’Grady said in the team release. “I’m quite relived to have settled it. I’ll race next year, and, if all goes to plan, my last race will be at the Tour de France.
“I wanted to finish off my career at a race that’s meant a lot to me throughout my time as a professional. The Tour has probably made my career. To retire on the Champs-Élysées would be a symbolic way to close things out.”
George Hincapie, who retired from professional cycling after last season, owns the record for Tour de France starts (17). Assuming he’s selected for Orica’s 2014 Tour team, O’Grady will break that mark. O’Grady will be at the start line for this year’s race, which starts June 29 in Corsica.
O’Grady said his final calendar year on the road will not be a “farewell tour.”
“That’s my not my style. I’m not sticking around for myself,” he said. “I’m riding because I want to give back to this team. It’s important to me that I make the time and effort to pass along my information and experience to someone who can step up and fill the road captain role.”
O’Grady’s resume includes a stage win at the 2006 Vuelta a Espana (team time trial), overall victories at the 1999 and 2001 Santos Tour Down Under, and a triumph at Paris-Roubaix in 2007.