Rabobank's Pedro Horrillo decides to retire following his crash in the Giro d'Italia
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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Horrillo decides to retire following crash in Giro

by Steve Jones at 11:35 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia

Spaniard Pedro Horrillo has decided to end his cycling career, saying he is unable to return to the condition necessary to compete at the ProTour level. The 35-year-old Rabobank rider was involved in a horrific crash during the eighth stage of the Giro d'Italia last year, where he fell 180 feet into a ravine on a mountain descent.

"I sent a letter to team director Erik Breukink in late December," Horrillo said to the Spanish newspaper El Pais. "I explained that I could not accept the offer to remain [on the team] for another year for physical reasons. The aftermath of my accident prevented me from regaining the level necessary to be a professional cyclist."

His accident was only discovered by chance, when teammates who were dropped on the climb rode by the crash site and saw his bike laying on the side of the road. It took rescue workers 20 minutes to locate his unconscious body on a ledge below. He was pulled out by mountaineers and flown to the hospital.

Horrillo miraculously survived the fall sustaining no life threatening injuries.  Unfortunately, the ending isn't entirely happy with respect to his cycling career.

"It would be tough to give up professional cycling in this way but it was an accident which I will just have to accept," he said to reporters when he first left the hospital several months ago.

The Spaniard served as a loyal domestique for most of his career. He turned professional with the Vitalico Seguros team in 1998, riding alongside future triple world champion Oscar Friere. In 2001 he began riding for Patrick Lefevere's then Mapei-Quick Step team, and remained there until 2004 when it was known as Quick Step-Davitamon.  His first win as a professional was Stage 1 of the 2002 Euskal Bizikleta. His last year with the Belgian team was where he had his biggest victory: Stage 2 of Paris-Nice in 2004.  In 2005 he began riding for the Dutch Rabobank team, and in his first year there he won Stage 3 of the Volta a Catalunya.  His last triumph was in Stage 1 of the 2006 Sachsen-Tour International.


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