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Spanish veteran Fran Ventoso is the latest WorldTour pro to call time on his racing career.
Ventoso, 38, raced in 2020 with CCC Team, and announced Thursday he would end his career that included stage wins at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, with stints at Saunier Duval, Movistar, and BMC Racing.
“After 17 years of racing, I’ve decided to put an end to my professional career,” Ventoso wrote. “There were a lot of good and bad moments, but they all left their mark on my memory, and made me who I am today.”
CCC Team collapsed in 2020, leaving many of the team’s riders scrambling to find new contracts. In the end, all but three riders — Ventoso, Serge Pauwels (also retiring), and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck — landed new deals.
In total, nearly 50 WorldTour and ProTeam male riders retired in 2020. That number is about average during the past half-decade, ranging from 32 in 2015 to 68 in 2019.
Some 20 women riders retired in 2020, among them American Katie Hall (Boels-Dolmans), winner of the 2018 Amgen Tour of California.
One agent told VeloNews that the rider market was relatively stable going into 2021 despite the coronavirus pandemic. Most top riders were able to maintain their contracts or find new deals, though the agent added that the rescheduled calendar that saw most of the one-day classics and grand tours contested under new dates “saved” the rider market going into 2021.
With Intermarché-Wanty Gobert taking over CCC’s WorldTour license, only one team ended up closing in 2020 due to the pandemic. Though some teams struggled at times to make payroll, the other 18 WorldTour teams endured the hardship largely intact.
Other top retirees on the WorldTour include Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal), Stijn Vandenbergh (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Rory Sutherland (Israel Start-Up Nation), and Ian Stannard and Christian Knees (Ineos Grenadiers). Michael Albasini (Mitchelton-Scott), two-time Amstel Gold Race winner Enrico Gasparotto (NTT Pro Cycling) and Jurgen Roelandts (Movistar) also called it quits.
Ramūnas Navardauskas (Delko), Tom-Jelte Slagter (B&B Hotels), and Yoann Offredo (Wanty Groupe) were some of the top names in the ProTeam ranks to leave the peloton in 2020.