Ted King's dreams of finishing the 100th edition of the Tour de France have been shattered after he finished outside the time limit for the team time trial stage by seven seconds and was taken out of the race.
Race officials refused to listen to pleas by the American rider's Cannondale team and listed him as HD ('Hors Delai') in the results for the team time trial. His name does not appear on the official overall classification, with just 195 riders now shown.
King has been fighting to survive in the Tour de France after crashing in the closing kilometres of stage one in Bastia. He suffered multiple cuts and grazing plus separated his left shoulder after landing hard. He survived Sunday's and Monday's road stages but was quickly dropped by his Cannondale teammates in the streets of central Nice and had to ride the 25km alone. He used his normal road bike fitted with aero bars to help ease the pain but set a time of 32:32, seven seconds too slow for the merciless race judges.
Cyclingnews understands the official time limit was calculated as 25 percent of the winner's time. King's SRM power metre apparently showed a time that would have left him inside the time limit but officials refused to consider King's suffering and determination to fight the pain in order to try to stay in the Tour de France.
The 100-year history of the Tour de France is littered with stories of riders who finished outside the time limit due to crashes, illness and injury but who were allowed to continue in the race. This time there was no mercy for King.
Cyclingnews challenged event director Jean-Francois Pescheux about the judge's decision. He also showed little mercy or interest for King, saying the rules were the rules with a very Gallic shrug.