The 26-year-old American had been recovering at home in Virginia but returned to racing today in Spain, where he finished with a large group of riders 6:43 down on stage winner Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis). Volta a Catalunya is King’s first race of the season.
"Ben has been incredibly hard working and diligent in his rehabilitation and training,” said Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “While his crash was disheartening, to see how dedicated and focused he's been in his return shows a person with true love for his sport."
King said the Spanish WorldTour race, which ventures into the Pyrénées later this week, will provide a proper test for his recovery.
“This week will be a good indicator of how my recovery has progressed and what I need to work on,” said King. “I know it will be hard, but I've never done an easy race.”
King earned Cannondale’s first win of the 2015 season last March at the Criterium International, a three-stage, two-day race that starts on March 26 this year.
King last raced with Cannondale at the 2015 Vuelta a Espana, where he finished 75th overall. His most recent race was last September at the UCI World Championships in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. King was in the early breakaway there and ultimately finished 58th.
In a statement released by his team, King said he missed the racing and is ready to jump back into the peloton.
“At times I felt estranged, like I was missing something,” King said. “A lot of relationships are strengthened at the beginning of the season as you learn to work together. I did stay in contact with most of the guys during the recovery. It was nice to feel included, and I definitely followed the races like a fanatical fan.
“I missed the all or nothing, do or die, team efforts,” he said. “I missed my friends on the team. It was nice to have extra time at home but I also felt a strong obligation to the team. After months of training in the winter I was ready to test myself. I'm still rebuilding form, but I'm strong enough to be useful to the team now.”
King’s eagerness t return even manifested itself in a seven-hour day on the trainer.
“I was going after my training partner Andy Guptill's local record of seven hours,” King said. “Training is often about quality over quantity, but in the beginning of my recovery my ankle was too weak to handle high resistance. Obviously I was eager to do everything I could to return as quickly as possible, so instead of going harder all I could do was go longer. Seven hours is a bit excessive. I know that. But I just did it one day. Mental strength training.”
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