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It was hard not to notice, and everyone did: Ted King is lean. At the Amgen Tour of California last week, it was apparent, his lime green Cannondale jersey flapping in the breeze.
He said it was something he heard 10 times a day during the race, no joke.
“So yes, I don’t think it’s just appearance,” he said. “Yes, I am leaner for sure. I came here after a really good spring. I came here after really good, focused training in Colorado. And it’s all about discipline. I like food too much to make this just a mistake, if that makes any sense.”
It does make sense. King was one of Peter Sagan’s reliable domestiques during the classics, where he was lean, but a bit bigger than he is now. Now he hopes to make the Tour de France team, and also for a strong performance at the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial National Championships this weekend in Chattanooga, Tennessee. King was third in 2011 in the road race.
“I got to be big and strong at the classics. And I was pretty lean there. Then coming [to California], you’re going uphill considerably more. And basically, it’s all progression, going toward the Tour. And you’ve got to be lean for the Tour,” he said.
King, who’s never ridden the Tour de France, thinks he’s got a good shot to make the Sagan-supporting roster, but knows that nothing is guaranteed.
“Until you’re on the start line, you really don’t know. The captains know, and until you’re there, at the start line, you’re really just — fingers crossed, hope for the best,” King said.
As far as nationals goes, King will be riding for himself of course, but by himself also.
“And I’m optimistic about that. It’s still, well, I don’t know if it’s underdog, but you’re one against a lot. And there’s a handful of us doing it like that. And then the following week, I’m headed to the Tour of Swiss,” he said.
As far as quantifying the difference in his weight, King had no specific idea. He doesn’t really get on scales.
“I don’t get on a scale enough,” he said. “I know I’m lean. I just truly don’t get on a scale often … You can see it. You look at yourself in the mirror and you say I’m either leaner or I’m not. And so, like I said, I like food too much to make this a mistake.”