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ZOTTEGEM, Belgium (VN) — Ted King will support Cannondale teammate Peter Sagan in Sunday’s Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders). He will have a demanding job on his hands as Sagan, after winning Ghent-Wevelgem, is the No. 1 favorite.
“Peter’s results have been helpful for the whole team and he lifts everyone’s confidence,” King told VeloNews. “My job will be more of the same [in Flanders], Peter is the card to play and he is currently the odds-on favorite.”
The team has selected King to race Flanders, and Paris-Roubaix the following Sunday, for the third year in a row.
King will work with Sagan’s trusted henchmen, such as Maciej Bodnar, Fabio Sabatini, and Kristjan Koren. The job will be much like it was at Ghent-Wevelgem and E3 Harelbeke: setting up Sagan for the kill.
Sagan has had an impressive run in the classics so far this year, with runner-up finishes at Milano-Sanremo and E3 Harelbeke to go with his Ghent victory. Heading towards Ronde, King and Sagan race the Driedaagse van De Panne over the next three days.
“Peter has the weight of the spring on his shoulders, but he’s taking it in stride,” King said. “He’s obviously tremendously talented, but he’s still humble and just a well-handled young cyclist. He’s not letting it go to his head, which could be easy given the circumstances.”
King spoke on the start line of De Panne’s first stage Tuesday in Middelkerke. The weather was cold, but he was one of the first out of the team bus to sign in and line up. Despite the weather, he is eager to do his job.
“These races are like a kermesse; you attack, attack, and attack, or if you’re not attacking, you’re putting in a very similar effort just to be at the front, ride around your teammate, and just project him as much as you can, give him bottles as best as you can,” King said.
“It’s just a race of attrition, who has power at the end, that’s why you start with 200 guys, then there’s 180, 150, 120, 100 … It just gets whittled down. You’ve got to be there as long as possible.”
The Ronde van Vlaanderen travels over 260 kilometers from Bruges to Oudenaarde and covers some of the nastiest cobbled climbs in Belgium.
Much of King’s work will go unnoticed because only the race’s final hours are aired. In Ghent-Wevelgem, for example, he finished his work and watched Sagan win from Cannondale’s bus. In Ronde, he expects to be in the action longer and to help Sagan to classic win No. 2.