Miguel Indurain, the five-times Tour de France champion, is likely to retire this year, say sources close to his Banesto team.
Indurain, 32, whose contract expires in December, failed to record a sixth successive win in the Tour this year but won gold in the time trial at the Olympics. Friends have been trying to persuade Indurain to change his mind, but it is believed the rider will announce his retirement in the next few days.
A Banesto spokesman said it was too soon to comment on Indurain's future, but his manager, Francis Lafargue, said Indurain would not compete for another season just for the money. "Miguel is an honest man. His engine is as powerful as ever and he is only 32-years- old," Lafargue said. "But if he feels he can no longer be his former self, he won't do one more season just for the money."
The Banesto spokesman said: "We are focusing on the Tour of Spain and, when the moment comes to renew the contract, we will see."
Last month Indurain said he was not keen to race in the three-week Tour of Spain, starting in Valencia on Saturday.
"I didn't particularly want to do it but the team decides," he said. "Physically I am well, but mentally I'm not."Reuse content