Luxembourg's Andy Schleck called time on his short cycling career on Thursday, forced to retire at 29 by a knee injury sustained in the Tour de France this year.
The highlight of Schleck's career came when he won the 2010 Tour de France, when he was promoted from second after Spain's Alberto Contador was stripped of the title for doping.
A gifted climber, Schleck, the younger brother of his Trek team mate Frank, claimed another prestigious victory in the 2009 Liege-Bastogne-Liege one-day race.
"I'm obviously disappointed to end my career like this," Schleck said in a statement released by his Trek team.
"I would have liked to keep on fighting but my knee just doesn't allow it. Since my crash in the UK there has hardly been any progress. While the ligaments have healed, the damaged cartilage is another story.
"I have been working hard on rehabbing the knee but came to the hard realization that at the risk of irreversibly injuring it, this is the best course of action."
He collected his last win in 2011 at the end of an impressive solo ride on the 18th stage of the Tour.
However, after sustaining a hip injury in the 2012 Criterium du Dauphine he was never able to regain his top form.
After coming back from his injury layoff Schleck took 20th place overall in the 2013 Tour de France after being unable to follow the leaders in the mountains.
He pulled out of this year's Tour with the knee injury sustained in a crash in the opening days of the race.