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Rodriguez says he’ll retire at end of 2016

The 37-year-old Spaniard has finished on several grand tour podiums and recorded three monument victories.

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ANDORRA (AFP) — Spanish veteran Joaquim Rodriguez announced Monday he will retire from cycling at the end of the year.

The 37-year-old Catalan made a name for himself as a climber and one-day specialist puncheur.

“I want to stop while I’m still at a high level,” said the diminutive rider known in the peloton as “Purito.”

The Katusha rider currently sits fifth overall at the ongoing Tour de France, which took a day off on Monday in Andorra following three stages in the Pyrénées.

He has missed out on most of the biggest prizes in cycling despite several close shaves.

He was twice on the podium at the world championships and eight times he secured a top-four finish at a grand tour — but he never won any of those.

The closest he came was second at the 2012 Giro d’Italia, 2013 worlds, and 2015 Vuelta a Espana.

His best Tour de France finish was third in 2013.

But Rodriguez did win three of cycling’s monuments — the Giro di Lombardia in 2012 and 2013, and the 2012 edition of La Flèche Wallonne.

He also won a total of 14 stages at the three grand tours — three in France, two in the Giro, and nine at the Vuelta.