Chente García Acosta puts end to 17-year professional career after unfortunate crash in Vuelta a España, making his figure become a symbol of values of sacrifice and comradeship embodied by cycling
In a discreet way, with no ambition of protagonism, as he always wanted to do during his brilliant, two-decade sporting career, Chente García Acosta left pro cycling on Tuesday evening in Pamplona. With several media attending to his press conference in the Hotel Castillo de Gorráiz near Pamplona, the Navarrese rider wanted to said goodbye to all fans with an emotive text where he thanked support received throughout his whole career. Chente, who will now take some months of rest to decide on his future, did not want to forget all people collaborating from his very start in an adventure taking him to one of the leading domestiques in the Spanish scene for the last twenty years. His figure, always a symbol of fortitude and sacrifice towards his team leaders, is already a part of the legend in that kind of team cycling García Acosta always dignified like no one since his first years as pro rider.
Always loyal to the colours of the structure led by Eusebio Unzué, which he joined in 1995, Chente was the main helper for the biggest ones in Spanish cycling for the last fifteen seasons: he spent his first two years alongside Miguel Indurain, accompanied Abraham Olano or Alex Züller, shared the emotions of another Tour victory for the squad with Óscar Pereiro and took Alejandro Valverde to overall glory in the Vuelta a España, which he rode for fifteen times, fourteen of those completed -his crash in 2011, in the downhill of the Alto de Valdepeñas de Jaén during the first week of racing, put an end to the Spaniard’s career- to become the 3rd most-finishing rider of all time, just behind Íñigo Cuesta and Federico Echave. It was precisely the Vuelta a España -stage victories in 1997 and 2002- the one giving him, along with the Tour de France -12 appearances and an unforgettable stage triumph in Draguignan in 2000-, his most important successes into a pro career -no less than 27 GT’s- that will stay forever inside the legends of Spanish and international cycling.
Full letter from Chente García Acosta
Good evening and thanks everyone for coming.
I got you all together here to announce that, after 17 seasons as professional cyclist, time has come to put an end into my sporting career. This is a choice I had taken some months ago, and I would have liked to take it during the Vuelta a España, and on the bike. However, a crash not coming into my plans made me choose to wait until getting recovered from the accident to set my future definitely clear.
Committed to take this step, in this moment I can’t do anything but thank all those ones supporting me during these years: my family, friends, team mates, fans… The list would be too long and I’m sure I’d be forgetting someone, so I prefer that all those who were close to me at some point feel these recognition as theirs. I also want to thank the team, my team, where I spent my full sporting career. Sponsors had come and gone, but I always felt like being part of the same family. So, thanks to all directors, team mates and staff who shared with me so many moments, inside and outside the roads during this career.
I leave this sport with just few victories in my palmarès, but I feel those like being many more. Those from Miguel, Abraham, Alex, Chava, Óscar, Alejandro… I worked so much for my team leaders, but got such a big reward for that. Their recognition and, overall, the immense love of the fans, which I always felt close to me. My biggest reward to so many years of sacrifice was your continued support.
Keep loving cycling.