Filippo Pozzato of the Italian Southeast team announced he will retire after the 2017 season.
There’s an argument that Pozzato has been retired since 2012 but nobody actually seems to have told him. The man has had three victories since 2013. Once a star, his fade was fast.
In his last few years he was more famous for his tattoos than his results. He was a personality and always popular in Italy but there was a clown quality to him and you never really had the sense he was 110% committed to bike racing or to honoring his own natural talent.
He had a habit of coasting on that talent and then complaining and whining when things didn’t go well. He was always the victim of bad luck, timing, mechanicals, colds, team politics, the weather, cold espresso, whatever.
He had the physical abilities to compete with Boonen and Cancellara but nobody ever called him Tornado Pozzato or gave his a warrior nickname. He was charming, occasionally funny, overly sensitive and had trouble rising to the occasion.
Even now he sounds like a man dialing it back big time. He doesn’t want to ride the Tour de France, doesn’t want the hassle or pressure of a big squad. So he’ll end his days close to home in a smaller team that feels like a safe place. Nothing wrong with that but it sure doesn’t sound like the way Cancellara or Boonen plan to go out.
His quote on the Tour pretty much summed up his mindset for this year and next. “I don’t want to ride at the Tour de France because I don’t like the race. It is too much stress all the time, now I’m old, and I don’t really want to take a risk every day. Last year, in the first 10 days I crashed eight times, I don’t like this. I prefer doing the Giro d’Italia,” said Pozzato.
That attitude even feels different from how fellow countryman Ivan Basso ended his career. Even when he could no longer be the GC captain winning big races, Basso wanted to be in top shape to help his teammates. When he could no longer find the mental and physical strength to carry out that important role, he called it quits.
Filippo Pozzato just sounds like he’s coasting to the finish line with as little effort as possible.