But this is cycling - and Chris Horner is the reigning Vuelta a Espana champion.
In an entirely bizarre (or predictable - depending on how you look at it) turn of events, the American veteran - last seen sitting in the saddle circa 2008 - this week confirmed that he was not signing on for the new Trek Factory Team for the new campaign.
"Thanks to the staff, riders and sponsors at RadioShack for a great four years. I'll be going somewhere else for 2014," Horner said on Twitter.
It seems that his contract talks have reached an impasse, with the Vuelta winning neo-pro (to borrow a phrase from the inimitable Justin Pickens of Road Reel fame) allegedly holding out for a $1m (£620,000)-per-year deal now that he has become the oldest rider in history to top the podium of a Grand Tour while still concussed from a crash two years previously.
Twitter is now awash with gossip and speculation as to where Horner will be plying his famous out-of-the-saddle surges next year.
Some say Cannondale - although the arrival of Oleg Tinkov's telecommunicative millions are more likely to be directed towards the much younger, less threadbare and infinitely more alluring pockets of Peter Sagan, who is thought to command a four-million-euro salary (not that Tinkov's Tinkoff is exactly feeling the pinch ahead of a lucrative stock market flotation).
There has also been a suggestion that dark green French minnows Team Europcar - as they ramp up their quest to join the World Tour elite - showed an interest in bolstering their ranks with a major signing before frugal manager Jean-Rene Bernaudeau (the Arsene Wenger of cycling) baulked at the the excessive €750,000 salary demanded by Horner's agent.
You see, as the old adage goes, Arsene knows - and that is a lot of money for someone with a poor injury record who has been entering the twilight of his career for the past decade.
Sure, Horner may have won the Vuelta - but say he hadn't, he'd still be struggling to find a new team even if his agent was pitching up with a €150,000 pay-as-you-play sales spiel.
It's a bit like a company showing covert concern about offering a top post to a 32-year-old woman who has recently got married. Sure, they shouldn't actively discriminate - but you'd be naïve to think that prospect of impending maternity leave bills don't enter the equation.
Besides Horner's UCI points, no team is going to get their money's worth by giving such a large wad of cash to someone whose motivation to continue riding at the highest level will surely be diminished now that he's done the impossible and beaten a rider in his prime, 13 years his junior, to secure America's first ever Vuelta victory.
Here's the thing. Horner's story is undeniably a teary-eyed incredible one. It is movie script stuff. If you read his short and succinct autobiography - entitled 'Hashtag: I Did That' - you'll agree that Horner's journey has been an inspirational one.
Horner has not only had to shoe-horn school and studies into his passion for cycling, he's had to raise a family with "only a Walkman for company". He did all this while being knocked back, ostracised and told he wouldn't make it. Once he even took "a step back hoping to go forward again".
It really is Erin Brockovich on wheels.
But beyond all that, some have voiced fears this could be a feel-good movie that may end up more like the latest Lance Armstrong blockbuster documentary to hit the silver screen.
This is not an exercise in mud-slinging - just a sad truth about cycling's current climate and track record. It's normal for hard-up professional teams (two of which have folded in the past few weeks) to be cautious about such an unbelievable feat.
In that sense, Horner has become the peloton's number one hot potato - in an era when everyone's craving cold pasta. Depending on what camp you belong in, that is either very sad or, sadly, par for the course.
With Tom Boonen injured and Philippe Gilbert off the boil for large swathes of the season, it's been a far from stellar year for cycling in Flanders. You know things have hardly gone your way if you're awarding Greg van Avermaet the coveted Flandrien of the year award.
But this week that happened, with the 28-year-old BMC rider beating a barren Boonen for the honour after a season that has seen him reach the podium 15 times but only the top step on four occasions (with those wins coming in the Tours of Wallonie, Utah and Qatar).
To be fair, Van Avermaet looked mighty sheepish collecting the award, thanking those who had "appreciated my regularity" in a year in which "I don't think anyone stood out".
Following his victory in the Tour de France, Britain's Chris Froome was named the International Flandrien of the year - 12 months after the panel bent the rules to give the award to Froome's team-mate, the Belgian-born Bradley Wiggins.
"It is an honour to win this prize. A Flandrien is to me someone, no matter how tough the conditions are, never gives up. Someone who has the character of a fighter," said Froome, two weeks after he and the rest of Team GB quit the rainy world championships more than 100km before the finish in Florence.
In a separate interview with Procycling magazine, Froome also underlined his Flandrien credentials when being quizzed about the 2014 Tour de France route, which is set to be announced next Wednesday.
"Cobbles have been mentioned and that does ring alarm bells for me. I know they will be ringing for others as well. The little climbers will hate the cobbles," said Froome.
"The thing that worries me about cobbles isn't necessarily the riding over the cobbles bit. What worries me are the crashes and mechanical problems," he added, sounding more and more like Wiggins.
Perhaps the panel at the Flandrien of the year awards should have swallowed their pride and voted for Fabian Cancellara after all - the true hard man of the sport, who followed up Boonen's second Flanders-Roubaix double with a second one of his own this spring.