I Have An Important Announcement to Make

02.16.2011 | 12:48 pm

Is everybody here? Great, please take a seat and let’s get started.

First off, thank you all for coming here on such short notice. As I mentioned in the email invite my people sent to you early this morning, I have arrived at an important decision today, and rather than let it leak out, I wanted to tell you personally. So let’s get started.

Hoo boy. Excuse me for getting a little bit emotional. This is harder to say than I thought it might be. Let me try again.

Effective immediately, I am retiring from professional cycling.

There. I said it.

I’m sure many of you have questions, and I’ll give you a chance to ask them in just a moment, but let me try to give my reasons first.

First and foremost, I am leaving the sport of professional cycling to spend more time with my family. And to write my memoirs. And also, because I am finding that maintaining an active presence on Twitter can be excruciatingly demanding.

Second, I am retiring because I have taken a good hard look in the mirror. I have to acknowledge that, with my 45th birthday only four months away, my chances of winning the Tour de France aren’t getting any better. Sure, from day to day I still feel pretty good, but I take a look at some of the other racers around me and realize that where I used to have to suppress the urge to attack, now I have to suppress the urge to yell at them to get off of my lawn.

And the truth is, my team kit just doesn’t fit all that great anymore. I asked my team director if I could get a size larger jersey, and he actually looked at me in disbelief. “This is the largest size they make,” he said. “And we had to order this one special.”

Also, I weigh 172 pounds, making me the heaviest pro cyclist living. I suppose that’s why all the guys in the peloton poke me in the belly. Which is not very respectful, honestly.

This brings me to the next reason I’m retiring: I haven’t won a race in a while. OK, technically I haven’t ever won a race, but my point is that while my UCI ranking has remained consistent, I find it demeaning that it’s been some time since I’ve even been allowed to race. In fact, you might say that my current team duties are more suited to an office intern than a cyclist. So if you’ll allow me a personal note to my team director: I’m a cyclist, Johan, not your freaking butler.

So, for those of you who were wondering, I will not be racing in the Tour of California this year. Nor the Giro d’Italia. Nor the Tour de France. Nor the Vuelta Espana. Nor even the Tour of Utah, unless I decide to poach it.

I am sorry to disappoint you.

Let me finish by saying that I have no regrets. Well, except that I wasn’t as fast as I’d hoped I would be. And that I’ve seemed to get quite a bit slower lately. And that I never had the self-discipline to keep the weight off. And that my contract with my current team has expired and that no other team has picked me up for 2011.

But otherwise, no regrets. Unless you count the time I crashed out the entire team that one time during the Team Time Trial, but I maintain that wasn’t totally my fault anyway; if the guy behind me hadn’t been drafting so close or yelling at me to “speed up” because “18mph on flat ground isn’t fast enough,” I doubt that crash would have even happened. On a personal note: I forgive you, Levi.

With that, I want to thank everyone for their time. I’ll now open the mic for questions.

What? Someone else retired today, too? Well. That’s a weird coincidence.


  1. Comment by Burls | 02.16.2011 | 12:58 pm

    You are a class act and will be missed in the peleton!

  2. Comment by Penina | 02.16.2011 | 12:58 pm

    This is a day that shall go down in infamy.

  3. Comment by slowerthensnot | 02.16.2011 | 12:58 pm

    Bravo! until next season ;)

  4. Comment by kyle. | 02.16.2011 | 12:58 pm

    you will be missed.

  5. Comment by Grizzly Adam | 02.16.2011 | 1:00 pm

    Can we look forward to you announcing a comeback in a few weeks?

  6. Comment by Adam | 02.16.2011 | 1:05 pm

    Wow, I didn’t even know you were a pro rider! Well anyway good luck in whatever you decide to do.

  7. Comment by Jim | 02.16.2011 | 1:07 pm

    So you are to Johann, as Francois is to Lance. Incredible!

    I’m sorry to hear you’re retiring. No doubt, Jens Voigt can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that his Pro Muesli Speed Eating record set when he and Frank Schleck got drunk and got the munchies at Team CSC Camp a few years ago will not be challenged.

  8. Comment by Beast Mom | 02.16.2011 | 1:27 pm

    *poke you in the belly* hee-hee.

    So will you take up high stakes golf like all other retired pro athletes? And build a mansion in a gated Florida community? And start gambling on in Jersey?

    Enjoy your well deserved rest from your butlership — er, I mean from cycling.


  9. Comment by Carl | 02.16.2011 | 1:27 pm

    Now you can eat all the Clenbuterol laced steak you want!

  10. Comment by blair | 02.16.2011 | 1:35 pm

    There are still lingering questions about your A and B samples. Like, did they ever exist? If they ever existed, where were they stored? Why can’t they be found? Why weren’t they actually tested and if they were, why weren’t the results forwarded to USADA, WADA, the IOC, and U.N.C.L.E.? Were they stored properly in the vinyl tote in the bed of your getaway truck? How do they look in knee warmers? Where are their A and B samples?

    It’s hard to be a fan of doping testing when I can’t trust the anti-doping samples not to be doping themselves.

  11. Comment by AngieG | 02.16.2011 | 1:36 pm

    No more strict diet! You can eat all the Pie you want.

  12. Comment by Geo | 02.16.2011 | 1:37 pm

    And so goes Fatty, the most-feared rider in the peloton. No one knew when he would grab his suitcase of courage and put the hammer down inflicting pain on the whole pack.

    Many people assume Lance Armstrong’s famous “The Look” was directed at Ulrich when true insiders know he was checking to make sure Fatty was not putting on one of his famous sprints to the top of an HC climb.

    Now I’ll have to call my bookie and change my bet on who will win the TdF this year.

  13. Comment by kimbrolio | 02.16.2011 | 1:38 pm


  14. Comment by FatBikeRacer | 02.16.2011 | 1:51 pm

    We figured this out when you started racing triathalons, you FAT GEEK!

  15. Comment by Duncan Gray | 02.16.2011 | 1:55 pm

    Your absence will be missed, you will leave a hole in the peloton, a really large hole that no single professional cyclist could hope to fill.

  16. Comment by muskyhunter | 02.16.2011 | 2:05 pm

    wtf? (what the fat?)is going around these days? where have the true ballers gone? age is just a number.
    Truly, you will be missed by the peloton. Does this mean you are trying to join Phil & Paul in the commentators booth?

  17. Comment by RANTWICK | 02.16.2011 | 2:25 pm

    NOOOOOOOO! Hey, who else retired today? I wasn’t another pro cyclist was it? Say it wasn’t.

  18. Comment by Fat Jeff | 02.16.2011 | 2:28 pm

    Congratulations on a stellar career. I’m looking forward to your inevitable come back. In 3…2…1…

  19. Comment by bikemike | 02.16.2011 | 2:30 pm

    when will we be seeing the bacon food supplements?
    also, i have an idea for a wonderful ribeye steak gel.

  20. Comment by curt williams | 02.16.2011 | 2:55 pm

    Say it isn’t so! You’ve given us all hope. Please reconsider.

  21. Comment by Nathan 59801 | 02.16.2011 | 3:01 pm

    Make your come back at this years Tour de Donut.
    You have 5 months from today to get back in top form. I believe in you Fatty!

  22. Comment by Nathan Reynerson | 02.16.2011 | 3:02 pm

    The one thing that I bet always stung a bit was the peloton banter on the side of the road during the “nature break”. I can hear it even now…
    “Fatty, fatty two by four, can’t fit through the bathroom door.”

  23. Comment by Big Mike in Oz | 02.16.2011 | 3:05 pm

    You’ll be back. All the great ones make at least 3 serious comebacks before they finally realise how silly they look.

  24. Comment by Steve | 02.16.2011 | 3:17 pm

    I can’t believe you posted this, retirees everywhere will be outraged at your insensitivity. You sir, owe everyone who’s ever retired an immediate apology.

  25. Comment by Triflefat | 02.16.2011 | 3:59 pm

    Fatty may be gone, but Big Mike is back!!

  26. Comment by KanyonKris | 02.16.2011 | 4:11 pm

    Wow, I’m shocked, shocked I tell you. I really thought you were coming into good form.

  27. Comment by Diane in WA | 02.16.2011 | 4:16 pm

    Say it ain’t so, Joe.

  28. Comment by Sara | 02.16.2011 | 4:44 pm

    Would this be retirement 1.0 or 2.0 for you?

  29. Comment by Eric L | 02.16.2011 | 4:46 pm

    From what we’ve heard of Fatty’s race preparation there are probably C, D, E, F & G samples. Now that you’ve retired, please go show Ricco how to do a transfusion properly.

  30. Comment by Mike L | 02.16.2011 | 5:04 pm

    Wait who do you think you are Brett Farve?

  31. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 02.16.2011 | 5:51 pm

    too funny!! I think you have a future in writing though – you’re pretty good at it.

  32. Comment by MattC | 02.16.2011 | 5:55 pm

    You know you’ve just devasted the 72 guys who routinely draft off you in the flat windy stages (not that I’m saying you’re fat or anything…but if you look closely at the video replays they appear to be playing cards back there behind you in a complete lack of wind).

    Oh well…now you can focus on your marketing of the Baconergy bars and such. And maybe the papparazi will finally leave you alone (those picss and video from that one race are STILL circulating around on youtube…but don’t worry about it…everybody thinks it’s Stanley Tucci peeing on that dog).

  33. Comment by Deuce | 02.16.2011 | 6:01 pm

    I can remember exactly where I was when I first heard the news Fatty is retired.

  34. Comment by rich | 02.16.2011 | 6:36 pm

    Good Stuff Fatty!!!

  35. Comment by Yahoo!Rob | 02.16.2011 | 9:11 pm

    As a fellow Pro and perpetual member of the back of the Peleton, I can say that I’m HUGELY relieved that you’re retiring. I didn’t want to say it Fatty, but your jersey isn’t the only thing that was too small. Why oh why oh why do you insist on wearing regular cycling shorts instead of bibs??? As you got bigger, those of us who regularly drafted off you got to see more and more of your derriere….then there was the day that the plumber bum arrived….do you know how hard it is to down a gel packet whilst staring at your crack?

    Please, for the young riders, stay retired…

  36. Comment by not over the hill yet, old man | 02.16.2011 | 10:47 pm

    Where’s the bad news ? Sounds like only rainbows and lollypops. Really you are approaching 45 yrs(?), I coulda guessed but being polite is my forte, sorta like riding outside the white line to avoid the faster vehicles, what’s next is retirement.
    With your retirement perhaps you could release Johan’s private number because his twitter is jammed due to your announcement.
    I would like to get my resume to him quickly to fill the void due to your departure.

  37. Comment by Mary Westmacott | 02.17.2011 | 12:07 am

    Thanks Mr Fat Cyclist Guy !I didn’t even know you were a pro rider! Best of Luck in whatever you decide to do in the future, just stay on your bike ! missing you already xxx

  38. Comment by skippy | 02.17.2011 | 1:22 am

    So you are the GUY to whom the REFC posted Pistolero’s letter ! No wonder you retire the day he starts thumbing his nose at us the punters et al ! Lance also decided that you getting the post would be a good chance to sail off into the sunset whilst SKY are trying to hide their skeletons and the Italians are scratching their heads over Ricco .

    SO what else happened yesterday whilst i was ” nil by mouth”?

    @niall of bribane may have info on the state of the Brisbane floods and Karen’s ride to keep me abreast of world affairs.

    Seems like the med staff here don’t want me doing pressups to pass the time, so it’s back to blogging and twittering although not as much to say since the snow is sadly missing in this part of austria.

    Enjoying all the blogs posting into Fatty’s comments, some of whom are entertaining and worthy of following.

    FATTY DO NOT RETIRE FROM BLOGGING ! With the “Lifetime Achievers Award ” you are still an influence for Cancer Sufferers even if you give up your Livestrong connections!

  39. Comment by RodNeeds2Ride | 02.17.2011 | 3:46 am

    I second the Utah Tour de Donut 2011 challenge! I hear there’s going to be a milk stop out on the course somewhere on a yet-to-be determined lap which will count for even MORE minutes off your time. No puking in the “Milk Zone” allowed.
    Oh yeah, there’s going to be a REAL podium this year so you have a much better chance of winning, Fatty!

  40. Comment by SimonfromOz | 02.17.2011 | 4:59 am

    Mate, make your return in January at Tour Downunder. We’re going to need a big name now that other bloke retired. BTW, can you twitter as you ride?

  41. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 02.17.2011 | 6:10 am

    Its not because your best bike isn’t UCI approved is it?

  42. Comment by ChrisL905 | 02.17.2011 | 6:36 am

    I feel a mix of emotions over all of this but I promise I will model racing career after yours Fatty.


  43. Comment by Daren | 02.17.2011 | 10:26 am

    Greg LeMond will rest a little easier tonight.

  44. Comment by Mark Kynaston | 02.17.2011 | 11:56 am


    Just very funny. You put a big grin on my face at the end of a long workign day.


  45. Comment by Rich | 02.17.2011 | 2:30 pm

    Who will take over your crown as Gassiest Rider in the peleton? My money’s on Cavendish.

  46. Comment by Microchip | 02.18.2011 | 11:00 am

    Twittering’s a full-time job in itself!

    (@ Mary Westmacott – your pseudonym is a pseudonym..?)


  47. Comment by Gary Webster | 02.19.2011 | 11:13 pm

    You now have time to resurrect the NetWare Technical Journal…Thank goodness.

  48. Comment by Dobovedo | 02.21.2011 | 1:42 am

    OK, so you’ve been retired for what… nearly five days now?

    It’s time for Fatty 2.0!!


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