March 18/08 3:53 am - Cipollini Retires ... Again
Posted by Editor on 03/18/08
Cipollini Retires ... Again
After a return to racing at the Amgen Tour of California with Rock Racing, Mario Cipollini issued a statement today that he is retired - this time for good, it appears.
Cipollini came out of retirement at the age of 40 to race for the controversial Michael Ball, and surprised more than a few by being competitive, finishing third behind Tom Boonen in one stage, as well as recording other top-10 results.
He had said that his return was linked to a manager-rider role for a European-based squad, and made it clear that he wanted to race Milan-San Remo this weekend on his 41st birthday. However, things began to fall apart with his relationship to Rock Racing, and rumours were surfacing in the Italian press that he would race for the Tinkoff team at Milan-San Remo.
Almost simultaneously today, Cipollini and Rock Racing released statements saying that they had cut ties:
Cipollini - "My professional relationship with the American team Rock Racing has finished. The plan to contest Milan-San Remo would have been meaningful if it was connected to the building and management of a new team, that in practice, despite contractual agreements, happened without the least reference to me."
"My return to competition was a stepping stone in a much larger plan to create a 'dream team'. It's a shame, but at the same time I'm grateful to all those people who have shown me warmth, support and affection over the past few months."
Michael Ball - "From a business perspective and from an overall team standpoint, the relationship between Mario Cipollini and Rock Racing was not advantageous, and would not work long-term. We have terminated his contract and wish him luck in future endeavors."