Ted King is angry. Fresh off his podium finish at the U.S. Professional National Championships, one of his career-best performances, King's dream of being selected for his Liquigas-Cannondale team's Tour de France squad is now in tatters because of a broken collarbone.
King crashed during the Philadelphia International Championship when he hit a gap between the pavement and a storm drain and his tire got caught, vaulting him into the air. He broke several ribs, covered his body in road rash and fractured his left clavicle, the same one that he had broken eight years ago as an amateur.
He explained to Cyclingnews that because his previous break was in the center of the bone, the weak point was further out toward his shoulder, a break which is more challenging to repair.
After visiting several different orthopaedic surgeons and getting several different opinions on the best course of action, King selected Dr. Jesse Jupiter at Boston Massachusetts General, who will be installing a permanent plate in the bone on Friday.
"What bums me out most is I was down for the Tour de Suisse, and after my good showing at the U.S. Pro, Tour de Suisse was the final deciding race for the Tour de France. It wasn't certain I would do the Tour, but I was on the long team," King said.
"The thing that gets me going about it is it was so preventable," he added, explaining that the dangerous gap should have been marked in some way or filled in.
"I gave [race director] Dave Chauner a laundry list of reasons why I thought the race was unnecessarily dangerous, which I also detailed in my blog. "
The downtown Philadelphia course has been under construction for the past few years, adding a mixture of concrete barricades and uneven pavement to the already dicey "fall from the wall", but King said the crack that took him down and the cones used to separate the two directions of the course are unusually dangerous, even coming from someone who's done two editions of the Giro d'Italia and its "6,000+km of menacing hilarity".
Because of his injury, King's promising season has been shortened and he expects to make his comeback in August at the Tour of Utah and US Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado.
"Doctors won't give exact dates on anything, but I expect to have one week after the surgery of doing nothing, followed by a few weeks on the trainer and then a controlled environment training on the road before getting back to racing. The team doesn't do many races in July aside from the Tour de France, so the next races would be Tour of Utah and Colorado.
"It's funny, because when I was with the Cervelo TestTeam I hardly raced at all in the U.S. and I was anxious to come back and race here, but I was also foreseeing being in Europe in June and July."
King said his fans have been a big help to his morale with all the supportive messages he's been receiving. "I had one guy tell me his story of a similar crash, but he, to spare the gruesome details, basically ripped his jaw off his head. So at least I still have my jaw, so I can look on the bright side of things."