Another American goes home to Rally: Ben King signs for 2021
After four seasons with the NTT organization, Ben King is headed to Rally next year in what marks a return to the team where he first got his start over a decade ago.
The 31-year-old American brings with him a palmares that includes two Grand Tour stage wins to a ProTeam that is looking to expand its international profile. Ben King is the second American currently on a WorldTour squad that will join Rally next year alongside Joey Rosskopf, who is coming over from CCC.
“I love the vision of the team, the direction it has been headed for the decade I’ve been away,” King said. “It’s exciting to be a part of that, hopefully to be an influence on the further growth of the team. With Joey Rosskopf also coming, and the results the team achieved with Gavin Mannion and Keegan Swirbul at the end of the season, I’m excited to be going into that environment.”
A 19-year-old King joined the organization then called Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast in 2008 after winning a junior national title. What was a third-division team then has since moved up to the second division, an appealing trajectory for a rider who has spent the past decade at the WorldTour level.
After his first year with the Kelly Benefit team, King went on to spent two years with Trek-Livestrong, three with the RadioShack-Leopard team that became Trek-Segafredo, and three with the Cannondale-Drapac team that became EF before joining the Dimension Data team that became NTT.
The first several years of his pro career saw him nab a national road title and stages at the Critérium International and the Tour of California, but he enjoyed a breakout season in 2018, his second year with Dimension Data, when he rode to a pair of breakaway stage wins at the Vuelta a España.
King’s contract with the South African WorldTour team ran through the end of this season and as of last month, he was still on the hunt for a new team, much like many of his teammates at an NTT squad that has yet to announce a sponsor for 2021. That changed when Rally performance director Jonas Carney offered him a contract in what was already quite a busy time for King, whose first child was born in October.
“Jonas actually called me in the hospital a couple of hours after my son was born to offer me the spot on the team – that made for quite a crazy weekend,” King said.
Looking ahead to next season, King noted that he is hoping to contribute even beyond the breakaways in which he has enjoyed success so far in his career.
“I’m working on my explosivity in the gym a lot. It’d be good to learn how to get a result that didn’t come from a breakaway. I think if I could be more patient and save some energy to get some results from the field that would be cool,” he said. “The team has some great sprinters, some really punchy riders, and I think the strengths I’m working on now will be really beneficial for the team – either for myself, or as support for one of the other punchy guys in the team.”