Ted King Interview: USA champs bronze medallist on the road to recovery
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Friday, June 17, 2011

Ted King Interview: USA champs bronze medallist on the road to recovery

by Ed Hood at 5:39 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Injury
Liquigas-Cannondale rider aiming for good end of season after Philadelphia crash

Ted KingIn netting third in the recent US Pro Cycling championships, Ted King showed that he was back to some very strong form. He was part of the crucial break which pushed ahead towards the end of the race and fought it out for victory, finishing behind Matthew Busche (Radio Shack) and George Hincapie (BMC) and securing the bronze medal.

He started his pro career with the Priority Health team in the USA in 2006; by 2007 the team had morphed into Bissell. The following year, King enjoyed a meteoric rise through the ranks.

As a second year pro he was ranked somewhere in the mid-70s on the US National Racing Calendar, but in 2008 he was the top American and second overall in the NRC.

The right people caught wind of his progress because he was soon on the phone with Gerard Vroomen, the co-founder of Cervélo, talking all about the soon-to-be Cervélo Test Team. The Massachusetts man rode for the new squad in 2009 and 2010, taking in two Giros along the way.

From the end of the Giro 2010 through to late August he was approached by a handful of teams about where he'd end up in 2011. Around the middle of that period, Liquigas-Cannondale entered the picture and for this season he indeed wears the acid green, blue and white of the Italian squadra.

King’s podium placing in the US PRO championship behind Busche and Hincapie signaled a return to form for the 28 year-old, after an early season compromised by injury.

That gave him renewed motivation, but unfortunately there was little time for King to enjoy his good legs. An untimely encounter with a drain cover at the TD Bank International Championship in Philadelphia has put him back in plaster and looking at more rehab.

VeloNation spoke to him recently, discussing his season thus far, his crash and recovery, plus his targets for the rest of the season.

VeloNation: How are you after the operation, Ted?

Ted KingTed King: Not too bad if you consider the grand scheme of things; but you must remember that this wasn’t your average drain cover, the gap was huge – there’s a picture on my website.

Unfortunately, I ‘broke a break;’ eight years ago when I was a young amateur I broke it but the doctor said that I didn’t need surgery – we just let it heal. I remember doing repairs one handed in the bike shop where I worked. Eventually it healed and I thought no more about it.

But this time I needed surgery. The procedure went well, even though it involved bending the plate to suit and shaving the bone where it had grown over the old break. It took four or five hours, and unfortunately there’s no way I’ll be back for the Tour.

VN: What is likely to be your comeback race?

TK: The Tour of Utah, perhaps… And maybe Colorado, but that overlaps the Vuelta. It’s ironic that with Cervélo, which was a North American team, I had no team race days in the US. But with Liquigas I’ve already had California and the Nationals and am likely to ride Utah and Colorado.

VN: That was a very solid ride for you in the Nationals…

TK: I was very happy with it. The top of the podium is where you want to be and they reckon that the only person who is happy is the one at that top step; but I found the outpouring of support that Timmy Duggan and I received during that race and on the podium was very emotional.

Timmy was in the break and that helped me as the race developed and I made the decisive four rider selection. I don’t really have any thoughts in retrospect about playing the finish differently – it was a very hard day with temperatures in the 90’s for nearly five hours. The fact that no one attacked from the break until inside the last kilometre speaks for itself.

VN: Were you happy with your Tour of California?

TK: It was a good race for the team; Peter Sagan won a stage and took another two podiums. It was my first race since Paris-Nice so I was pleased that the team had some good results - and it was a fitness builder for me.

I was supposed to go to the Tour de Suisse after the Nationals, then hopefully the Tour; but that’s the thing with pro cycling – it’s so difficult to plan ahead.

VN: Is Peter Sagan going as well this year as in 2010?

TK: He started the year very strongly, in Sardinia – but then he crashed at Paris-Nice, where he rode so well in 2010.But he had good results in California, so yes; I think his form is as good as last year.

VN: You rode Sardinia…how was it?

TK: I was lined up at the start of the year for the Classics and Sardinia was my first race. I had a bit of a twinge in my left knee but Peter had the jersey and I was riding on the front for four or five hours each day.

Really, I should have pulled out but it was my first race for the team and we were leading the race. Immediately after Sardinia I saw the team physios and doctor and was diagnosed with tendonitis. I didn’t change shoes or cleats or bikes so it’s hard to pin down what caused it. I was back for the Classics – and that was trial by fire!

VN: You were a Girona man but have moved to Italy…

TK: I loved it in Girona, I was there for two years with Cervélo – but the main reason I moved to Lucca was to help with learning Italian. Lucca is a bit like a ‘young Girona’ - there’s a good US contingent there; Tejay Van Garderen, Ben King and Taylor Phinney all live there.

It’s a good town with everything a professional cyclist needs, including two airports close at hand.

VN: You started on a US domestic team, then went to Cervélo and now Liquigas – its quite an Odyssey

Ted KingTK: It’s been an interesting progression and I’m happy with every move I’ve made. It’s been an awesome adventure. But even before I signed with Liquigas, I used to say to my friends in the US that the team was the picture of professionalism – the PR, the kit, the bus, the bikes, everything.

VN: Is Mario Scirea as scary as he looks?

TK: He’s tough, but it’s like family; he knows when to be strict but also knows when to joke around.

VN: You’ve ridden the Giro the last two seasons…did you miss it?

TK: No, because I was excited about riding California – it was great to ride those editions of the Giro, but given the tragic events that befell the race this year, I’m quite happy I wasn’t there.

VN: Will we see you in a Grand Tour this year?

TK: It’s within the realms of possibility; I spoke to my DS two days ago and whilst June is about recovery, August and September are a long way away – we have to take my rehab one day at a time. But I’d like to have a good second half to the year; the Vuelta is a possibility. I’d like to be there…after all, we won it last year.

VN: Tell us about Vincenzo Nibali….

TK: He’s still young but is a thoughtful guy, he’s not ‘in your face’ or brash at all – I guess he’s like a microcosm of the team; professional and taking care of business. But he’s a nice guy and he fools around at times, too.

VN: Can Ivan Basso win the Tour?

TK: Good question! I haven’t ridden with him so I’m removed from that side of things but he had very good form which was ruined by crashes. But he’s won Grand Tours before and I certainly wouldn’t put it past him. [Note: King was speaking prior to Basso’s disappointing showing in the Critérium du Dauphiné]

VN: And the big question, how are the Boston Red Sox doing?

TK: That is the key question! They’re doing great; they started the season poorly but are playing good baseball, now. If there’s a silver lining to my crashing, then it’s the fact that I’ll get to see the Red Sox in the month of June!


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