Cipo decided to quit at San Remo

ario Cipollini tells a Milan press conference that his performance at Milan-San Remo lays behind hi

ario Cipollini tells a Milan press conference that his performance at Milan-San Remo lays behind hi

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Mario Cipollini told a press conference in Milan on Friday morning that he made his mind up about retiring when he failed to have any impact in the closing stages of Milan-San Remo last month. "I am no longer the rider I was. I realised that at Milan-San Remo when I gave all that I could, but there was no balance between my head and my legs, my legs simply didn't respond as I would have wanted," explained Cipollini.

"It was a sad day for me, I didn't take this decision with joy in my heart, and it has cost me a great deal of emotion," said Cipollini, who won 189 races in his 17-year pro career. "I am not the rider I was once and the pressure for the Giro was becoming too much."

Sat between Liquigas boss Roberto Dal Lago and Liquigas-Bianchi team manager Roberto Amadio, the 38-year-old sprinter, who announced his retirement on Tuesday, added: "I can't go on like this for myself, the fans and for Liquigas-Bianchi."

He continued: "I was no longer the same as I had been and with my character, which demands that I win rather than finish in second place, I can't go on." Asked how he felt after making his decision to retire, Cipollini said "I have a feeling of undoubted liberation." He said that he has no future plans as yet, but revealed that he is likely to be at the Giro prologue next weekend as a guest of the race organisation and that he is likely to continue with the Liquigas team in an as yet unspecified position.

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