Culture

iamTedKing: Muchos Nationalities

With 18 stages now logged in the books at this year's Giro d'Italia I'm finding my creative juices running a bit dry. After the last rest day, this final week is slightly strange since it's only five race days and features yesterday's mere 83km stage and Sunday's concluding 15km time trial. So it's tough not to peek towards the light at the end of the tunnel, but like a good grand tour rookie, I'm still taking it just one day at a time.

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Sastre, too, is the only rider representing his country on the Cervélo squad.

Photo: Agence France Presse

With 18 stages now logged in the books at this year’s Giro d’Italia I’m finding my creative juices running a bit dry.

After the last rest day, this final week is slightly strange since it’s only five race days and features yesterday’s mere 83km stage and Sunday’s concluding 15km time trial. So it’s tough not to peek towards the light at the end of the tunnel, but like a good grand tour rookie, I’m still taking it just one day at a time.

Today with my mind as drained as my legs, I therefore simply present unto you a hypothesis-slash-observation: The Cervélo TestTeam is like the United Nations of the pro peloton.

By that, I’m referring to the fact that we have an unmatched international mix of people comprising the team. Of the nine riders we placed on the Giro start line we have nine nationalities. One of each of the following: American, Australian, Belgian, Irish, Lithuanian, Spanish and Ukrainian. We also have two British, but in this context one has an asterisk by his name because he was born in Canada and has dual citizenship. So for the sake of argument let’s call him Canadian and the other fellow a Brit.

Furthermore our staff is just as internationally diverse. We are supported by Spanish, Colombian and Italian mechanics; we have German, Spanish and Belgian soigneurs; we are tactically guided by Dutch, German and Swiss sports directors; also we are shadowed by a Canadian, American and Bosnian film crew. There is more staff at the Giro than shown on this list – and all are integrally important to the success of the team – but I hope by now you’re seeing the point.

I’ve decided that this is a result of the Cervélo TestTeam being based in Switzerland. See, whereas most teams have a large contingency of riders and/or staff who call the country where the team is based “home,” this is not the case for Cervélo.

While I don’t have a spreadsheet at my disposal listing all other teams’ rosters and staff members, I do not believe this sort of international synchronization exists to this degree with other pro teams. That’s most certainly not a knock at other teams; nay, like I said, this is merely an observation.

Liquigas has a lot of Italians, Garmin has a lot of Americans, Quick Step has a lot of Belgians, and so forth. Cervélo TestTeam, though, has a lot of … well, everyone.

I think this international diversity is a vital part of our team’s success. No one is on the outside because they don’t speak the team language or because they do not understand the intricacies of the team’s culture. Instead we rally around each other as a team and in races support whoever is going well. Looking at the team’s results so far, this method certainly seems to be working!

For a little dinner entertainment not too long ago we had everyone sing the opening lines to their national anthems! Don’t ask for another rendition though; we’re professional cyclists, not singers.


Editor’s Note: This year Ted King is making his professional European racing debut with the upstart Cervélo TestTeam. While first getting a taste for the European peloton with the U.S. espoir national team in 2005, King returned to the United States for three successful years of domestic pro racing. King, 26, is a native of New Hampshire and despite his affinity for hearty servings of coffee, he is slowly adapting to the smaller European portions. Slowly. His diaries will appear on VeloNews.com every few days during the Giro, alternating with diaries by Columbia-Highroad’s Michael Barry. When he’s not racing the Giro, you can follow Ted at www.Cervelo.com/team and www.iamTedKing.MissingSaddle.com. For those of you content with 140 characters or less, you can also track his activities at www.twitter.com/iamtedking.