Dutch veteran Karsten Kroon said there is a sliver of a chance he could ride for the nascent Roompot-Orange squad next year, though he emphasised retirement is still the likeliest option.
Speaking at the start of the Tour of Beijing in Chong Li, the 38-year-old said, he was “99 per cent sure” he would retire later this month, but said there was a small possibility he could join the ProContinental Roompot-Orange squad, which has recruited numerous young riders from the Low Countries’ development teams.
The Tinkoff-Saxo rider said: “I still have a lot to give. Orange is a really nice project with talented young riders and it could be a lot of fun to race a half year or a whole year with those guys. I definitely have a lot to give them.”
He insisted that if he does retire after 18 years in the pro peloton, he is not eying a transition into team management. He declined to comment on what opportunities he was looking at, but that whatever he does do would be “fun”.
Despite the Tour of Beijing likely being his last WorldTour race – his season finishes at the Japan Cup on 19 October – Kroon said he wasn’t feeling sentimental about the impending change of circumstances. Kroon re-joined Bjarne Riis at Saxo-Tinkoff in 2012, after an injury-studded two year stint with BMC.
“I have to say it’s not an emotional moment for me – it’s a bit strange. I’ve been slowly saying goodbye to cycling for the past three years,” he said.
He also had more pressing issues on his mind. “Today I just to make it to the finish. I’ve got a really bad headache from terrible jetlag. For the rest, I just hope to enjoy the country a bit because it’s probably the only time in my life I’m going to be here.”
Kroon won a Tour de France stage on Bastille Day 2002 while riding for Rabobank and two editions of the Rund um den Henninger Turm.