Cheng Ji to retire after Tour of Hainan

Cheng Ji will ride his final race at the Tour of Hainan later this month, before heading into retirement. Team Giant-Alpecin announced on Thursday that the rider has decided, after 10 years in the peloton, to concentrate on his family and "focus on a different career path".

The 29-year old has been with the team since 2007, and made history in 2015 when he became the first Chinese rider to have completed all three Grand Tours. He is also the first Chinese rider to have finished the Tour de France. 

"This achievement has been considered a huge milestone for the development of cycling in his home country China," the team said in a press release.

"Being a Chinese professional rider competing in the biggest races on the calendar has had a big impact with far-reaching consequences in China, and I am glad to have played my part in that," Ji said.

"Physically I can continue my career for a few years still at a high European level, but as I become older I have other goals in my life – concentrating on my family. I have recently become a father, therefore I have decided to retire after this season to focus on a different life in China and take my responsibility for my family."

According to coach Rudi Kemna, "Cheng has seen it all during his 10 years riding at the highest level of professional cycling and we fully accept his decision. He was one of the team's most hard-working and respected riders."

Ji is the sixth rider to leave the team after the 2016 season, along with John Degenkolb, Lars van der Haar, Koen de Kort, Fredrik Ludvigsson and Tobias Ludvigsson.

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