Paris - Spanish veteran Joaquim Rodriguez announced on 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 'puncher'.
"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 Pyrenees.
But he 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
secured a top-four finish at a Grand Tour - but he never won any of
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 he did win three of cycling's Monument one-day races - the Giro
di Lombardia in 2012 and 2013, and the 2012 Fleche 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.