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Ted King Q&A: After Tour de France exit, ‘I plan on being back’

The American rider sits down with Matthew Beaudin ahead of his late summer/early fall race schedule

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It has been only weeks, really, since Ted King (Cannondale) was painfully plucked from the Tour de France, the victim of a ruthless time cut enforced by the race jury after he missed the 25 percent limit by just seven seconds during the team time trial in Nice.

King had crashed in the Tour de France’s chaotic opening stage that saw a team bus get stuck under the finish line and several high-profile crashes. He injured his shoulder and raced through the team time trial, but wasn’t able to stay on his teammates’ wheels.

Brutally, he was sent packing at his first ever Tour appearance. So he went home to New England and hit his “proverbial reset button.” He’s been holed up at friend and ex-teammate Timmy Duggan’s (Saxo-Tinkoff) place in Nederland, Colo., just above Boulder for three or so weeks now. VeloNews caught up with King this week.

VeloNews: What did you do after you left the Tour?
Ted King: I went home to New England for a little bit. I’d call it my proverbial hitting the reset button … That’s where I have good medical care. My father’s an orthopedic surgeon, formerly. They give me really good care and coverage. And that’s where I learned … I broke my scapula and separated my shoulder. I didn’t learn that until I came home.

VN: There was a movement at the Tour. A lot of guys said you should have been able to stay. Did that mean a lot to you?
TK: Yeah. Obviously. It’s — a lot of times words have failed me as a result of all the outpouring of support. Yeah, I mean the camaraderie among the riders, that was huge. By in large, it’s a big community on the bike, the peloton as a group. More or less looking out for each other. But at the same time I completely understand the whole situation; it’s a three-week race, and everybody has to be really selfish. So that contrast is actually kind of heartwarming, that people were going to bat.

VN: Did you watch the Tour after you left?
TK: Short answer, no. It was painful. It was too bittersweet. For sure that first week I didn’t flip it on. I t didn’t pay attention at all. I mean, inevitably you’re going to get a little bit of coverage, you flip through twitter and see what your friends are up to. You catch what’s going on. And then in the final week, I’d flip it on a little bit. But certainly not what I’d normally be doing. So, C’est la vie.

VN: Was there a feeling that was your one true shot to make a Tour team, or do you feel like another will come around?
TK: I certainly have every intention to go back. Yeah. It was a product of a lot of hard work. To a degree, it’s 10 years in the making, but I’ve made a lot of sacrifices within the past year to do that … I plan on being back.

VN: What have you been up to since?
TK: On the horizon is Utah and Colorado. And that was understood. If the recovery was going to go well, those would be the next races. The order of operations were a little bit off. I crashed, I kept racing for three more days, and then I took the rest. It was eight days off, all said and done. Which, in the grand scheme of things, is timely. I never had a midseason break, which a lot of people do … just the way my season was unfolding, I had to keep it going. After classics, after nationals. After California, after Swiss, in order to be there at the Tour. I feel refreshed and fit and ready to roll.

VN: What after Utah and Colorado?
TK: And then Alberta and Quebec and Montreal. And then, ideally, world championships.

VN: You’re doing that big North American block, then. What do you make of it?
TK: I think it’s a good program. I think it’s going to be a lot of racing. There’s not a ton of guys who are doing all those races. There’s a lot of people who are doing three of the four, two of the four. So, I don’t know. I’m excited. It’s a good series of races. Alberta’s going to be the new one. The other ones are proven races. Utah’s a proper race. Colorado’s completely unto itself. I don’t know other races that set the benchmark, begging, at 8, 9,000 feet.

VN: And Peter’s coming over.
TK: Peter’s coming over for Colorado.

VN: People are excited about that. People love Peter, Ted.
TK: That’s what they tell me. I mean, people love me, and I guess they like him.

VN: As far as personal goals, what do you have in mind?
TK: I’m trying to play realistic cards right now. Utah’s going to be the first race back, and we’re bringing a competitive team but no real heavy hitters, no unequivocal captain. So it leaves the door open. And I don’t know — go for a break. Go for a stage win. And then Colorado, it’ a proven formula to go work for Peter, and go for stage wins there. So, if that lines up well, that’ll put me in line for the world championships.

VN: You seem to dig it in Boulder.
TK: I love it, man. It’s really cool. It makes you think. I always try to figure out where I want to settle down. I’m blessed to have the ability to hop around to a lot of really incredible places. Born and raised in New England, and that’s certainly where I have a lot of roots, and where I come from. So if I’m going to pick anywhere to live outside of New England, I’d say Boulder/Ned is leading the charge.

VN: What’s your favorite climb out there?
TK: Ohhhh man. Sunshine is fun. I love the dirt, you know? You get up to Ned and there’s so much dirt around here. It’s so good. And it’s goofy. Cause everyone’s like, ‘Hey, man, what kind of bike are you riding? How’s your ’cross bike? You doin’ a 28, are you on a mountain bike? I’m like, ‘No, you pansies. Open your eyes. Just ride a 23. If you have a 25, great. Ride some dirt. Open your mind. It’s awesome … the dirt up here is crisp.

VN: Did I forget to ask you anything? Anything else you’d like to let the faithful know?
TK: Nah. I don’t know — I figure the super-faithful are privy to all the intricacies and weird nuances of Ted King. Have you seen my new jersey? … I’m very excited about it.

VN: Would you call that a Tartan plaid?
TK: Nah. Cause Tartan sounds too, like, Scottish. I’m calling it — that’s just proper New England. That’s Flannel, coming straight up outta New England, man.

Editor’s note: Ted King also has a charity ride on October 19 to benefit the Krempels Center, a Portsmouth, N.H.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people living with brain injury from trauma, tumor or stroke.