Vincenzo Nibali explains decision to retire

The Italian rider announced his retirement in his hometown of Messina at the end of stage five of the Giro d'Italia

Vincenzo Nibali retirement
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Vincenzo Nibali has explained his decision to retire at the end of the season, suggesting that after 18 years as a professional, it is the right time to hang up his bike.

The 37-year-old announced his retirement plans after stage five of the Giro d'Italia, which finished in his hometown of Messina, to Italian broadcaster RAI. With tears in his eyes, the Italian confirmed he made the decision to retire at the end of the season before starting the Giro.

“It’s been a difficult day for me and for my family. I’ve been waiting for this stage for a very long time,” Nibali said. “There was a lot of emotion riding into Messina, my home, my family, my friends. It’s my city and it’s where I started racing and training so I want to confirm here that this will be my last Giro and my last year.

"It’s time to call it a day. I’ve done so much for so long but it’s the right time. 

“I can’t forget that I left home when I was 15 years old. I think I gave a lot to cycling and now it’s time to give time back to all the people who sacrificed things for me.”

For now, Nibali intends to finish this year's Giro d'Italia, while he also provisionally a part of Astana's Tour de France squad. It isn't likely Nibali will challenge for the Maglia Rosa, though, having lost time up Mount Etna on stage four of the Giro. 

The Astana-Qazaqstan rider currently sits 4-16 back from leader Juan Pedro López in the GC, but this didn't affect Nibali when reminiscing on his career during his retirement announcement. 

"I’ve got lots of memories from my career and lots of things to look back on," he said. "There were good and bad moments, injuries that played a part in the outcome of my career, but that’s cycling, there are always good and bad times. It’s all been incredible."

Indeed, Nibali is one of seven riders to have won all three Grand Tours at least once - winning the Tour de France in 2014, the Vuelta a España in 2010 and the Giro in both 2013 and 2016. He also has a Milan-San Remo and two Il Lombardia victories to his name. 

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Staff Writer

Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.