Matteo Pelucchi has announced that 2021 will be his final one as a professional, as he ends his career racing in Italy to bring the curtain down on a career spanning more than a decade.

Pelluchi (32) lines up alongside close friend and compatriot Giacomo Nizzolo for the Coppa Bernocchi on Monday, after which his final race will be Gran Piemonte on Thursday, 7 October.

The Italian joined Team Qhubeka NextHash at the start of 2021 having previously ridden for the likes of Bardiani, Androni and Bora-HansGrohe, and having made his debut in 2011 at Pro-Continental level with Geox-TMX Transformers.

While a double-stage winner at the Tour de Pologne, Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour de Langkawi, it was his victory at the 2011 Clasica de Almeria and a second-place finish on stage 6 of the 2015 Giro d’Italia riding for IAM Cycling, that will rank among his best memories.

Matteo Pelucchi

I’ve decided to end my career after 11 years as a pro. It’s been a good career and I think the right time to stop, and to start thinking about something else.

I feel like this is the right time, I’m in a great team and I leave cycling with an amazing experience that I had with Team Qhubeka NextHash. That means that I end it feeling happy; I am very close with Giacomo and the team’s mentality and celebration of the Ubuntu spirit is something that I will take into the future with me, always.

I’m happy because as a rider I realised my dream, which was to win some good races and in the process I was able to experience every single emotion across the sport. This is something that I’ve really come to appreciate in the last few years, that it’s not only about results but also every feeling that we have on the bike, be it a win or the pain from a crash, or the help for your teammates and the spirit in the group, or now that I will stop. Cycling has given me a range of emotions that I’m not sure you could have in “normal” life and for that I am extremely grateful and proud. This is something that I will never forget.

I would like to thank every single person I have worked with over the years, and I hope that I have been able to repay them with that loyalty too. Finally, to my family and friends, I want to express my gratitude for all of your support as I’ve lived my dream.