The Hardest-Working Man in Cycling

Giovanni Lombardi putting in the pre-season miles

Forget the typical Euro-pro retirement charade of winning a local “race” in one’s honor. Kudos to Giovanni Lombardi for envisioning the suavest possible farewell to cycling. From the CSC site:

The veteran Italian had planned on ending his professional cycling career on September 25 at the conclusion of the 2005 road world championships to be held in Madrid. Lombardi, who lives in the trendy Madrid neighborhood of Cheuca, was planning to race in support of the Italian national team, ride straight through the finish line to his apartment, hang up his bike and officially call it quits.

If Lance Armstrong had it his way, I’m sure the 2005 Tour de France would have ended up in downtown Austin instead of Paris so he could have ended his career in a similar manner. When the sun set on September 25th, Lombardi must have been a tired man. After all, in January he helped his CSC teammate Lars Michaelsen to victory in Qatar, that very day in late September he strung out the field (in vain) on the last lap in service of a hurtin’ Petacchi, and in the interim Lombardi became only the 22nd and oldest (at 36) cyclist in history to finish all 3 Grand Tours in a single calendar year. And since Bjarne Riis and Ivan Basso sweet-talked him into prolonging his career 2 more seasons, I’d wager he’s on his bike right now putting in the miles for 2006.

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