Rory Sutherland has called time on his professional racing career at the age of 38. The Australian’s last outing as a pro came on Sunday’s final stage of the Vuelta a España with Sutherland helping teammate Daniel Martin to secure fourth place overall in Madrid.
At the finish of stage 18 a visibly but understandably emotional Sutherland was surrounded by his teammates, with Martin, who has ridden alongside Sutherland for the last three years, the first to put his arm around the soon-to-be retired Sutherland.
The Australian turned professional in 2005 and rode for a host of teams including Rabobank, UnitedHealthcare, Saxo-Bank, Movistar, UAE Team Emirates and most recently Israel Start Up-Nation. He forged a reputation as one of the most valuable domestiques in the peloton, working alongside the likes of Martin, Alejandro Valverde and countless other team leaders.
“In the end, I’m proud to have finished my career in this team, with this group of staff and riders. I couldn’t have asked for a better farewell from being a professional cyclist after leaving Australia 20 years ago. I’m excited for the next chapter in my life and being able to spend more time at home with my family,” Sutherland said in a short statement sent from his team to Cyclingnews.
Along with good times, which included overall wins in the Tour de Beauce and the Tour de Gila, Sutherland has endured low points too. He served a suspension after testing positive for Clomiphene in 2005, although a report at the time stated that it was not ‘expected to produce any performance enhancing effect.’
Sutherland came back from a career-threatening leg break that took place last winter due to a scooter accident but he successfully returned to racing in August and completed over 30 race days. He announced his retirement prior to the Vuelta a España and with just a few days to go he disclosed that he had no regrets over the decision.
“It’s time to end the career and I’m super happy with that choice. It’s interesting to say that because I’m not unhappy or miserable at this team. I’ve learned a different way of loving cycling with the Israel Start-Up Nation.” When asked if he was nervous about the future and his life after professional cycling the 38-year-old appeared relaxed and excited about the next chapter in his life.
“I’m not your typical professional cyclist. I own two cafes, one in Girona and one in Barcelona so I’ve always got something going on. I’ve been around for a long time and while that doesn’t mean that I don’t concentrate on training and racing, I’ve always enjoyed having external things happening at the same time. So am I worried about what’s happening after this? No, not at all. I’ve got a few things going on and I now get to concentrate more on the family. I get to go and ride my bike and do things that I’ve not been allowed to do for the last twenty years.”