With no place for Maximiliano Richeze at UAE Team Emirates in 2022, the 38-year-old Argentine is bracing for the possibility of retiring after 17 years in the sport.
Talk to Cuyo’s Journal, Richeze said he has spoken to a few WorldTour teams, but if he couldn’t find a contract he would be more likely to retire than strike a deal with a lower level team.
“At my age, I need motivation and clear goals to train and get it right, so if you go down one category you lose your will and your morale,” Richeze said. “If I was 10 years younger I would say yes I would downgrade to keep running but at my age I have already run as much as I wanted and a year older or a year younger is not going to change my life. I haven’t thought about it. To retire this year but I’m starting to analyze it a bit more. “
Richeze won two stages of the Giro d’Italia early in his career with the Italian team Ceramica Panaria, but made a name for himself as one of the best leaders in the sport, first with Quickstep where he worked for Marcel Kittel and later Fernando Gaviria, then followed the Colombian to UAE Team Emirates in 2020.
Before the duo could perfect their new sprint train, Richeze and Gaviria both contracted COVID-19 while touring the United Arab Emirates and spent weeks in quarantine in 2020. Since that time, results have not been shown. quite arrived.
UAE Team Emirates kept Gaviria and strengthened its sprint team with Pascal Ackermann and Alvaro Hodeg after the departure of Alexander Kristoff and Sven Erik Bystrøm to Intermarché-Wanty Gobert.
Richeze said he still enjoys cycling and is ready to race another year, but is philosophical about retiring.
“I am already 38 years old, the idea was to continue for another year because I feel good but in case I don’t have a team and I have to leave this year, it will not be a problem neither. One more year could help me psychologically prepare for retirement because I think the athlete should always prepare for it. Anyway, I can’t ask for anything more, I’m happy with my career . At 38 I went up to I did it and I was able to make many dreams come true. “
Those dreams included success in Europe – with his two Grand Tour stage wins, one Tour de Suisse stage, three Tour de Turkey stages and three stages in his home race, the Vuelta a San Juan, but his point climax was wearing the 2019 national champion jersey.
“Wearing the colors of my country was something fantastic for me. When I became champion of Argentina, I was able to wear the colors of the Tour de France and for people to recognize me for wearing the colors of my country was the better. Thank God, I was also able to do it in the Vuelta a España and in the Giro d’Italia (in 2020, editor’s note).
“I was able to run and win a lot, maybe not so much on a personal level, but by working for my teammates we have won a lot, we are still part of it and we bring our grain of sand to these victories. What more can I ask of my career? I have given everything, I have nothing more to give, I have always given everything. “
Richeze’s last race, pending contract negotiations, could be the Doble Difunta Correa in San Juan, a New Year’s tradition now in its 65th edition, which he won in 2018.
“For me it’s Argentina’s most important classic, a historic and traditional race, and that is reflected in all the runners who go there. It’s always nice to be there, to race it. To win it. was very special to me. I try to do my best every year, I always go with the intention of doing well or trying to win but we know it is very difficult because I come from there pre-season in Europe is the first race and the guys in San Juan is already in high season. “
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