American Ted King has been time cut from his Tour de France debut. King struggled in Tuesday’s stage 4 team time trial in Nice, three days after separating his left shoulder in a crash on the opening day of the race.
He fell behind his teammates in the first kilometer of the 25-kilometer ride through Nice and rode bravely on his own through excruciating pain. According to official time, King missed the 25-percent time limit by just seven seconds.
The race jury took no pity on King.
Race officials confirmed King’s time at 32:32.60, and Cannondale officials said they were informed he missed the time cut by just seven seconds.
The results sheet said it all: “HD, hors delai.”
Cannondale officials said they could not believe that the jury would disqualify the injured American. They challenged the decision in person and later by telephone, but were stonewalled.
“They didn’t want to listen to our explanation. Ted was racing with a shoulder injury, and he raced with a road bike. He was very brave. He did not stop fighting. Those are the qualities of cycling, yet they did not want to change their minds,” said Cannondale spokesman Paolo Barbieri. “It is Ted’s dream to race the Tour. We cannot believe it.”
Jury president Vincente Tortajada, who made the decision to time-cut King, is the same official who disqualified Chris Froome (Sky) during the 2010 Giro d’Italia.
That incident remains a sticking point for Froome and Sky. Froome was allegedly taking pulls on a police motorcycle near the top of the Mortirolo climb and the race jury kicked him out. Sky claimed that Froome was only trying to arrive to the top of the fearsome climb in order to meet team soigneurs so he could abandon due to searing knee pain.
King was injured in a crash that occurred late in Saturday’s opening stage after officials moved the finish line briefly and then returned it to the original position inside the final 5km. The uncertainty led to a chaotic finale that saw many of the top sprinters on the ground or delayed. Sky’s Geraint Thomas suffered a fractured pelvis and time trial world champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) reportedly suffered a concussion.