By Gregor Brown
Italian Matteo Tosatto, 42, says that he is "not going to beg for another contract" for 2017 and that his professional cycling career is over.
Tosatto holds the record for the most Grand Tour participations at 34. He rode the last six years with Tinkoff/Saxo Bank, which is disbanding at the end of 2016, and supported stars like Alberto Contador.
"I'm not going to beg for another contact," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.
"I'm convinced that I could've ridden another year at a high level, like the one that I just had. I'm OK with it. Mentally, I've already started to unplug."
Tosatto said that he thought that he was following Contador to Trek-Segafredo.
"But then it wasn't formalised and I'm not completely sure why. Yes, Alberto let me know that he was going to bring me along with him,” added Tosatto.
"If I had known earlier that wasn't going to be the case then I could've started looking earlier for a top level team and I could've found one. By October, the game's already over. Then it's harder to do anything. Even still, many made offers and that was great."
Tosatto rode his first Grand Tour in the 1997 Tour de France with team MG Maglificio-Technogym, a time when current Tour star Chris Froome was finishing primary school in Nairobi, Kenya.
He pulled sprints for Alessandro Petacchi in team Fassa Bortolo, won a Tour de France stage with Quick-Step in 2006 and joined Saxo Bank in 2013.
Over the last 20 years, he rode the Giro d'Italia 13 times, the Tour 12 times and the Vuelta a España nine times. Only six of those he did not finish. He supported Contador to his 2014 Vuelta and 2015 Giro titles.
Now, Tosatto is studying to become a sports director. He said, "The dream, to become Italy's national director."
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