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Giro d'Italia

Cervélo’s American Giro rookie Ted King is soaking it all in

Ted King is making quite the impression with his Cervélo TestTeam in his grand tour debut. Cervélo sport director Jean-Paul Van Poppel said the team is pleased with how the 26-year-old from New Hampshire is holding up midway through the Giro d’Italia. “Ted is doing fine. He’s a good team worker and we’re really happy with him,” Van Poppel said. “He has a fantastic attitude. He’s a well-mannered American boy. He’s pretty quiet, but you can tell he pays attention and he’s learning. There’s no better education for a young rider like him than a stage race.”

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By Andrew Hood

King at the Giro this week

King at the Giro this week

Photo: Andrew Hood

Ted King is making quite the impression with his Cervélo TestTeam in his grand tour debut.

Cervélo sport director Jean-Paul Van Poppel said the team is pleased with how the 26-year-old from New Hampshire is holding up midway through the Giro d’Italia.

“Ted is doing fine. He’s a good team worker and we’re really happy with him,” Van Poppel said. “He has a fantastic attitude. He’s a well-mannered American boy. He’s pretty quiet, but you can tell he pays attention and he’s learning. There’s no better education for a young rider like him than a stage race.”

Van Poppel said team orders are to help Sastre fight for a spot on the final podium, so Cervélo riders have been on a pretty short leash when it comes to slipping into breakaways.

King, however, stuck his nose in the wind early in Monday’s stage to Pinerolo, working into a promising 11-man move that was eventually caught before gaining too much traction.

Besides cutting his grand tour teeth, King’s role at the Giro is to help Sastre as much as possible in the transition stages. That workload will increase dramatically if Sastre captures the maglia rosa or begins to make threatening moves in the GC.

“No complaints so far. Per orders from Carlos, the name of the game is conserve,” King said. “I feel like I have the legs to go in some faster groups, but I’m ending up in the gruppetto, which is no problem for me. So far, so good.”

King says he’s enjoying his first taste of grand tour racing, but he realizes this is all business with a strong captain like Sastre to protect.

“The whole race is a trip. The country embraces the race more than anything I’ve ever seen before. The whole country turns pink,” he continued. “Goal number one is to help Carlos as much as possible and goal number two is to make it to Rome. That would be awesome if I could finish the race.”

Cervélo signed King after three steady seasons on the U.S. domestic scene. Van Poppel said the fourth-year pro should have an interesting future as a professional.

“He can do well in a lot of types of races,” he said. “His sprint isn’t too bad, he can time trial pretty well. He’s a strong, tall guy, but it’s the big mountains that might be a problem for him, so I don’t know if he could ever be a GC rider in the big tours.”

Through stage 10, he was parked in 126th overall at 1 hour, 33 minutes back, but for a Giro rookie, surviving is the name of the game.

For King, the Giro is becoming like Bike Racing 101. He’s just trying to take it all in.

“I don’t know how I am going to perform in the final week, so it’s about conserving now,” he said. “It’s starting to blur a little bit. I haven’t had any terrible days or I haven’t had any great days. Survival.”