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Rory Sutherland is savoring the final pedal strokes of his long professional racing career. The 38-year-old Australian rode his final time trial Tuesday and will retire when he reaches Madrid on Sunday.
“It was a beautiful course here in Galicia,” Sutherland said Tuesday. “I really enjoyed it, being out there by myself.”
Sutherland battled back from a freak accident over the winter, when he broke his femur when he fell off a motorized scooter at a team camp in Israel in December after joining Israel Start-Up Nation. He worked through rehabilitation to return to racing in August, and after considering his options, decided to end his career this season.
The Vuelta, which concludes Sunday in Madrid, is his final race, and true to his creed, he is working to help teammate and captain Dan Martin make a push for the final podium.
“Finishing the last stage on Sunday in Madrid, I don’t know if it will be emotional? I don’t think so, I don’t believe it’s going to be. But you never know,” he said in a team video. “When Dan Martin won the stage the other day, I was a part of it, and when I finally saw him, I went to this room, and I walked in, and we both started crying.”
Sutherland raced at the highest level in Europe and North America, and returned to the WorldTour in 2013, with stints at Saxo Bank, Movistar, and UAE-Emirates before joining Israel Start-Up Nation this season in its first year in the WorldTour. In 2018, he became one of the oldest riders to debut at the Tour de France.
“I am not your typical professional cyclist; I own two cafes – so am I worried about what happens after this? No. I have quite a few things that are going on, so I am not concerned,” he said. “And my wife has already told me that it is no longer about me, after next Sunday, it’s about her.
“The big thing for me will be that I can finish it with a group of people that I’ve been with the past three weeks,” he said. “It’s like finishing with all your friends, in that special moment.”