Family, Friends Watch as King Rides in Tour de France

By: Lindsay Joy Email
By: Lindsay Joy Email
Growing up, some siblings play in the backyard pretending to hit the game winning home run or a buzzer beating shot. Jake and Ben King had other dreams.

Courtesy: Instagram, bking137

Growing up, some siblings play in the backyard pretending to hit the game winning home run or a buzzer beating shot. Jake and Ben King had other dreams.

"When we were little -- younger, he's six years older -- we would go out and ride and pretend like you were in the Tour de France, like a long Tour de France breakaway," said recent Miller School graduate and cyclist Jake King.

For Ben, that dream came true this summer. In June, the 25-year-old Monticello High School graduate found out he would be riding for Garmin Sharp's team in the Tour.

"All year long he knew it was a possibility, but he wasn't guaranteed anything until the announcement was made," explained Andy Guptill, a former training partner of King's who also coached Jake at Miller. "I would say leading up to that point he felt it was really a 50-50 call, so he was beside himself with excitement when he finally got the call."

King made his debut when this year's event began on July 5. Even though he's riding in one of the most grueling races in the world, Ben has been able to keep in touch with his family over the last few weeks.

"Definitely a couple of texts back and forth after the stages," said Jake. "I really try to kind of make small talk to kind of keep him sane, because I'm sure he gets pretty insane after so long, so many days, so intense."

Ben also sends out mass emails to family and friends every few stages, giving them a little inside look into what riding in the Tour is really like.

"You see what's on TV, you see the leaders battling for stage wins, what you don't hear are the little things off record," Guptill says. "Just some of the ways they're really selling out for the team leader and the sacrifices they make. Kind of being told 'Hey Ben on this stage, lose time intentionally so that tomorrow you can try for the breakaway,' little things like that."

Through 16 stages, King is currently 58th out of 169 remaining riders. There are five stages remaining before the event ends on Sunday in Paris.

Riding on the sports biggest stage, King has been an inspiration to younger riders, especially his younger brother. As Jake rises in the ranks of the cycling world, he may eventually get his chance to ride in the Tour, making the other half of that childhood dream a reality.

"Of course, if it's an opportunity," King says of wanting to ride in the Tour de France. "I'll keep chugging away. Maybe one day, we'll see."

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