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Ted King returns to the Tour de France with a Cannondale squad dedicated to delivering Peter Sagan to Paris in the green jersey for the third straight year.
King made a short-lived Tour debut last year, crashing heavily in stage 1, and then exiting in a controversial decision by the UCI jury to time cut him by just seven seconds during the team time trial in Nice.
Despite the New Hampshire native’s insistence that he did indeed make the time cut, the UCI jury had no mercy, and King was out of the race.
As Cannondale officials told VeloNews earlier this year, King was already part of the team’s Tour plans. The veteran American has developed into a key helper for Sagan, who has emerged as one of the sport’s top riders.
Sagan is on a quest to win his third consecutive green jersey, and will face heated competition from Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and perhaps Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano).
The young Slovak’s consistency in the sprints makes him a clear favorite, especially in hillier stages where Cavendish and Kittel have difficulty making it to the finish.
Cannondale is not bringing a GC rider, leaving Ivan Basso at home. Instead, it’s all for Sagan.
King will serve as Sagan’s bodyguard in the flats and help control the pace to reel in breakaways when Sagan has a chance to win.
The team has tapped Elia Viviani, Cannondale’s other top sprinter, to serve as Sagan’s leadout man.
Cannondale for Tour de France (July 5-27):
Peter Sagan (SVK)
Maciej Bodnar (POL)
Kristijan Koren (SLO)
Ted King (USA)
Fabio Sabatini (ITA)
Jean-Marc Marino (FRA)
Marco Marcato (ITA)
Alessandro De Marchi (ITA)
Elia Viviani (ITA)