American workhorse Ted King’s WorldTour ride was confirmed on Friday when the Cannondale-Garmin team announced its 2015 roster. This comes after months of speculation following the announcement of a merger between Garmin-Sharp and his former squad, Cannondale.
“I couldn’t be more excited coming to such an American operation,” said King. “From a personal side, it just does make sense. I’m an American, American sponsor, American title companies, American organization. That’s super exciting. I kid you not, it puts a smile on my face just to see this come together the way it has.”
He had worn the Cannondale green for four years — back to the days when it was Liquigas-Cannondale. Along the way, he finished two Giri d’Italia in 2009 and 2010.
Although he’d failed to finish his two tries at the Tour de France — being controversially time cut in 2013 and withdrawing in 2014 — he was expected to have a spot on the new-look Slipstream Team, given his experience.
However, as time ticked by, and Cannondale-Garmin confirmed other riders, it appeared, for a bit, that King would be left out.
“I’ve been confident that I’ve had a job for awhile,” King told VeloNews, despite the rumors about his future. “They [Slipstream] kept their cards close to their chest, just to make the big formal announcement among everybody. I’ve carved out a nice home here. Even though it is something of a hybrid team now — two awesome organizations coming together. I’ve felt confident all along to be honest.”
With the change in scenery, King may see greater opportunities to race for himself, having spent several years in the trenches working for Cannondale’s star leaders, especially Peter Sagan.
“It’s another example of … Just a change of course,” King said of his 2015 outlook. “It’s been very scripted racing with Peter [Sagan] for the past few years. … It’s not that I wanted to change. I had a great experience doing that. We’d just go into every race knowing what my job was. This team [Cannondale-Garmin] races with quite a bit more aggression and flair; putting guys in the break and really lighting things up. That’s something I’ve been looking forward to for awhile, rather than a rote, scripted race.”
Though King was rarely the star of the show at Cannondale, the confirmation of his spot on Cannondale-Garmin is confirmation of his talents at the WorldTour level.
The pool of WorldTour riders has been gradually forced into shallow waters, with increased uncertainty and fewer offers on the table. Nowhere is this more evident than in the case of Chris Horner, a grand tour winner, who is still looking for a ride after his contract with Lampre-Merida has expired.
Indeed, Phil Gaimon, who rode 2014 with Garmin-Sharp, was not given a new contract for 2015. He’ll ride for domestic team Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies in 2015. Several other WorldTour riders will also step down to pro continental or continental teams next year, including Janez Brajkovic (Astana), Evan Huffman (Astana), and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp).
Fortunately for King, Friday’s announcement confirmed that he would carry on at the sport’s highest level, even if his trademark flannel plaid jerseys might have to take a backseat to Slipstream’s argyle.
“I think flannel plaid is a close cousin of argyle,” King said with a laugh. “… I’m sure we’ll have some very lengthy discussions on that. … I trust it’ll be a colorful conversation.”