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Spain's Rodriguez to end career at end of year

Katusha rider Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain celebrates on the podium after winning the 195-km (121.16 miles) 12th stage of the 102nd Tour de France cycling race from Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille, in the French Pyrenees mountains, France, July 16, 2015. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/Files
Katusha rider Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain celebrates on the podium after winning the 195-km (121.16 miles) 12th stage of the 102nd Tour de France cycling race from Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille, in the French Pyrenees mountains, France, July 16, 2015. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/Files

ANDORRA LA VELLA (Reuters) - Joaquim Rodriguez will end his professional career at the end of the year, the Spanish rider said on Monday.

"2016 will be my last season as a professional rider. I still enjoy this sport so much but I'm 37 years old," Rodriguez, who finished three times at the top of the world rankings, told a news conference on the first rest day of the Tour de France.

The Katusha rider also has five grand tour podium finishes to his name - three on the Vuelta, one of the Giro d'Italia and one on the Tour de France.

After a solid opening block of racing, Rodriguez, nicknamed "Purito", is fifth overall in the Tour de France.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Alison Williams)

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