Milan-San Remo winner Filippo Pozzato only announced his retirement last month, but the Italian is already jumping head first into a new line of work.
Pozzato, whose career in the pro peloton spanned 19 years, is making the unusual switch from bike racer to his old love, roller hockey.
The 37-year-old left the world of bike racing behind at the end of last year, having racked up wins in Grand Tours, Classics and holding a single but memorable monument victory.
But on Sunday (January 20), Pozzato will start for Hockey Bassano, a second division roller hockey team based in northern Italy, reports Belgian sport news site Sporza.
Pozzato’s love of roller hockey is long-documented after he left the sport behind as a teenager to pursue life as a professional cyclist.
After turned pro in 2000 with the Mapei-Quickstep team, Pozzato later went on to ride for Liquigas, Katusha and Lampre-Merida before joining Professional Continental outfit Willer Triestina in 2016, where he saw out the remainder of his career.
His palmarès features wins at some of the biggest races, including two stages of the Tour de France, general classification victory at Tirreno-Adriatico in 2003, and Milan-San Remo in 2006.
In an emotional retirement statement, Pozzato said he didn’t feel he had made the most of his talent and reflected on a difficult 2018 due to the death of his father.
He said: “My childhood dream has been realised and now it’s over already, maybe in a way that I would not have wanted.
“The curtain falls without making as much noise as I would have liked.
“I look back and see 19 years of my career flying away.
“However, I managed to achieve some of my dreams, like the San Remo in 2006.”
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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