Ted King starts farewell tour at USA Pro Challenge

Retiring Cannondale-Garmin rider in final US race this week in Colorado

For Cannondale-Garmin’s Ted King, this week’s start at the USA Pro Challenge marks the beginning of a bittersweet journey.

The 32-year-old American will retire from professional cycling at the end of the season, and the Colorado race will be his last in the US.

“I’m thrilled to be here, but you have to bow out at some point,” King said at the pre-race press conference Sunday in Steamboat Springs.

King will also compete at the Tour of Alberta in September, then the WorldTour races in Montreal and Quebec. He’s hoping to end his career at the Richmond World Championships at the end of the month, but the US team roster for that race is yet to be decided.

“Fingers crossed,” he said of a potential start at Worlds. “We don’t have a huge roster, unfortunately, but I think we can build a really good team, and I'd like to be a part of it.”

Before King can worry about Worlds or the Canadian races, however, his focus will be on helping his team follow up last week’s overall win by Joe Domrowski at the Tour of Utah.

The team has 23-year-old climber Davide Formola on the Colorado roster along with Colombian Janier Acevedo, and King will play his usual domestique and road-captain role for the team’s two general classification contenders.

King, who announced his retirement plans in April, said his reception this year at races has been unbelievably positive and enthusiastic.

“Across the board, from riders and staff to obviously fans and family,” he said. “I'm embracing it and I love it, but I'm certainly ready for another adventure.”

The plans for that next adventure are still unfolding King said, but he plans to stay in the sport that has been his livelihood for the past decade.

“Basically when I first got into cycling I thought I would race for three of four years and then segue that into a more typical career, I mean use my degree [in economics, Ed.],” he said. “But I built somewhat of a following. I have some really great relationships with some awesome sponsors and I want to continue that for a bit.”

King admitted his future plans are still in rough draft form, “but there is some awesome crossover between the business world and the cycling world, working with sponsors, working with riders, working with the insight that I've created, so we'll see.”

Although his plans for retirement haven’t yet been set in stone, King’s goal for the press conference was pretty clear when he played off the announcement that the winners of the men’s women’s races will each receive a two-year lease on a Lexus NX 200 Turbo.

“I’m just hoping that there’s a Lexus for retirees,” he said.

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