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Ben King has announced that he will retire from professional cycling at the end of the 2022 season.
The 33-year-old broke the news on his Instagram account Tuesday, confirming that he would hang up his wheels after a 15-year career at the top of the sport.
King came through the ranks as a talented youngster at Kelly Benefits before moving to the Trek-Livestrong team in 2009. He spent two years on the American development squad alongside Taylor Phinney and Alex Dowsett before graduating to the RadioShack-Nissan team at the start of 2011.
Periods at Garmin Sharp and Dimension Data followed before the American dropped down to the second tier of the sport with Rally Cycling, with the team becoming Human Powered Health at the start of 2022. The team shares roots with the Kelly Benefits squad that King first started out with.
“After 15 years as a professional cyclist, I’ve decided that 2022 will be my last season. I came into this sport as a scrawny homeschooled kid from the Blue Ridge Mountains. It feels like yesterday that my dad and I were filling up our slushees at 7-11 after Tuesday night worlds, or that I was lost in Belgium before head units with maps existed. I could never have imagined how far this sport would take me,” King said.
“Now I have a wife, son, and daughter on the way. While I still love racing, I look forward to spending more time with the people I love and exploring my interests beyond cycling. It’s a lot to process because this is the world I’ve known for over half of my lifetime, but I believe the best is to come.”
As a rider King forged a career as a selfless teammate and solid domestique who could work on the flat or in the mountains. His ability to cover several boxes with minimal fuss made him an ideal teammate and a perfect rider for team managers.
He was a solid winner in his own right too, with memorable stage victories in the Vuelta a Espana, Amgen Tour of California and the Criterium du Dauphiné. In 2010 also won the US national road championships while still only 21, becoming the first U23 rider in history to take the title.
King famously spent half the race off the front, holding off the entire chasing pack to win alone in Greenville, South Carolina. His most recent win came in last year’s Tour of Portugal, when he took stage 6 into Fafe.
It’s not clear which race will close out King’s career but he is scheduled to race the Tour de Suisse later this month.
“I’m filled with gratitude for the experiences, the friendships, and for everyone who has supported me on this journey. What’s next” is still taking shape but I’m excited and open to new opportunities,” he added.