LECCO, Italy (VN) — David Zabriskie (Garmin-Sharp) ended his pro cycling career on a gray and misty day in Lombardy on Sunday.
Zabriskie told reporters in Bergamo he would retire at the end of the day, hanging up his bike and ending 13 years of professional racing. He has had enough, and besides his leg is bothering him.
The 34-year-old from Utah, looking tired or perhaps unexcited about a wet day at the Giro di Lombardia, stepped up to the podium, signed the participants’ sheet for the last time, and then slipped into the peloton and out of sight. Sometime after the start in Bergamo, along the 242km route to Lecco, he climbed off and waved good-bye to his teammates.
Americans Caleb Fairly and Alex Howes picked up the reins. They rode pace at the front of the group with Fabian Wegmann after the first climb over Valcava. Their work paved the way for Dan Martin, winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, to place fourth.
“I love this race. I love it,” said Martin, the only one of Garmin’s eight starters to finish.
“We rode better than I even thought was possible. My teammates did a fantastic job for me. They protected me to the Sormano climb. It was fantastic.”
Zabriskie was unavailable for comment after the race, continuing a quiet streak that followed his testimony in the Lance Armstrong doping case last year.
He crashed out of the Amgen Tour of California, breaking a collarbone, but rebounded for the end of the season, with stops in Utah, Canada and then Italy. He helped Garmin-Sharp to eighth in the world-championship team time trial in Florence, where his old friend Christian Vande Velde ended his career. And on Sunday, Zabriskie followed him into retirement.
His DNF at the Giro di Lombardi will stand, unlike his yellow jersey from the 2005 Tour de France; that was taken from him in the Armstrong case, which saw the UCI strip Zabriskie of his results from mid-2003 to mid-2006.
After that period, Zabriskie joined a team known for its anti-doping ethos, helping Garmin win the team time trial in the 2011 Tour.