The Italian cyclist Daniele Bennati puts an end to his career after eighteen seasons. The 39-year-old rider has too many back problems to go even further.

Bennati was early known as a good sprinter, but in the fall of his career he mainly emerged as a road captain. He has been a servant of Movistar for the last three years.

"My back told me a few days ago: dear Benna, it's time to stop," Bennati wrote on Instagram. The Italian is going to spend the coming period with his family, after which there is a good chance that he will return to the sport in a different role.

Bennati started his career at Acqua e Sapone in 2002, after which he played for Domina Vacanza, Phonak, Lampre, Liquigas, Leopard-Trek, Saxo-Tinkoff and therefore Movistar.

The Italian had its greatest successes at the end of the previous decade. He booked stage victories in all major laps. In 2007 he won two stages in the Tour de France, including the mass sprint on the Champs-Elysees. That year he also won three stages and the points classification in the Vuelta. He won three stages in the Giro.

Other major successes have been victories in one-day races such as the Tour of Piedmont (2006 and 2008) and the Tour of Tuscany (2005 and 2010). He also won several stages in smaller stage races.