Tour winner Carlos Sastre retires

MADRID -- Former Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre retired Thursday, ending a 15-year cycling career.

"The moment has arrived to bring this cycle to its close," the 36-year-old Spaniard said. "Next year I will begin a new stage, even though I am no sure what I will do."

Sastre won the Tour in 2008. He also finished runner-up in the Vuelta in 2005 and 2007 and the Giro d'Italia in 2009.

Sastre said that his last race, in which he helped teammate Juan Jose Cobo and his Geox team win the Spanish Vuelta, was the best way to go out.

"Having the Vuelta winner with me and seeing my team win was the best culmination to my career," he said.

Sastre finished the recently concluded Vuelta in 20th place, more than 20 minutes off the pace.

The veteran rider said that he didn't want to continue riding just for money if he could no longer compete at the top level.

"I took the decision last year," Sastre said. "I didn't want to make cycling into purely an economic issue for me. I have always wanted to be a professional from the first to the last day. I have known where my limits are."