- Robert Hunter will be retiring from pro cycling after 16 years, revealing he does not have a team for the coming season. The 36-year-old, who was the first South African to ride the Tour de France, as well as the first South African to win stages in all 3 of cycling’s Grand Tour’s.Robert has been with the Garmin – Sharp team since 2012.
“Guess it’s time to hang up the wheels,” he tweeted on Sunday. “16 years in Europe not a bad run..now new things to look forward to.”
“I’d happily race another year to do my 10th TDF and I know I’ve got the legs but guess teams don’t think so.”
Hunter turned pro in 1999 with Lampre-Daikin, and has also ridden for Mapei-Quick Step, Rabobank, Phonak, Barloworld, Garmin-Transitions, and Team RadioShack. he joined Garmin again in 2012.
He has started the Tour de France nine times, finishing three times. In 2001, with Lampre, he became the first South African to start in the race, and in 2007 won a stage in the race. Hunter has also ridden the Vuelta a Espana, winning two stages along the way, and rode the Giro d’Italia four times winning the team time trial as well along the way.
Thanks to his powerful sprint finish and aggression, Hunter won the Tour of Qatar in 2004, with two stage wins, and also took the overall titles in the Volta ao Distrito de Santarem and the Tour de Picardie, both in 2007. He has also won many individual stages. He was South African national road champion in 2012.
Robert put South African cycling on the map and we all applaude you champ.