King talks Sagan, Tour of California and Tour de France

“Yeah, I stopped eating in March.”

Team Cannondale domestique Ted King is always quick with a wisecrack, this time in response to how thin and fit he’s looking.

Just ahead of the Amgen Tour of California, Ted King spent a couple of weeks in Colorado, training with his friend and former teammate Timmy Duggan. Cyclingnews caught up with the 30-year-old American to talk racing, training, Peter Sagan and the Tour de France.

King kicked off his season in Argentina with the Tour de San Luis, then headed to Europe for Paris-Nice and then the classics.

“Our season thus far has been very good. Team Cannondale had podiums in virtually every classic barring Paris-Roubaix,” King said.

This spring Cannondale’s Peter Sagan won Gent-Wevelem — riding a wheelie as he crossed the finishline alone — took second to Fabian Cancellara at the Tour of Flanders and then outsprinted World Champion Philippe Gilbert to win Brabantse Pijl.

“I’ve been racing with Peter a lot, which is a good thing,” King said. “He is a very good rider to work for. For one, he is successful. He just makes your job easier.”

“Also, Peter’s a good kid. He’s 23 years old. He has a very pulled-together perspective,” King said. “He recognizes his potential, and you see him striving for more. That translates off the bike. It’s humbling and inspiring, really, as a 30-year-old working for a 23-year-old.”

“Everything between ‘the go’ and the ‘1k to go’”

King came to Team Cannondale when the title sponsor was Liquigas. Before that he rode for CervéloTestTeam, also as a domestique. At Liquigas last year he raced with his good friend Timmy Duggan, and the pair continue to connect for training when possible. Ahead of California, King stayed at Duggan’s house up in Nederland, Colorado, elevation 8,230 feet (2,500m).

“Before California I had to hit the quick life-reset button: See the family, see friends, check a mountain of mail,” King said. “Then I did some thin-air training before heading out to California for the Tour."

In California, Team Cannondale set a high bar last year.

“We set quite a standard last year with five wins and a second place,” King said. “And the race looks significantly harder this year from the get-go.”

King’s job in California is pretty straightforward — work the front when the team needs it. “As a non-climber and a non-sprinter, I am tasked with everything between ‘the go’ and the ‘1k to go’,” King said.

The California team roster is similar to that for the Tour de France, King said.

“In the bigger picture I’d like to put in a really good ride and make the selection for the Tour,” he said. “I’ve done every race I’ve wanted to do except the Tour: the Giro, the spring classics, the world championship, the Ardennes classics.”

So how does one make the Tour de France team?

“The captains’ spots are virtually guaranteed. Then there is a bigger pool of riders shooting for the remaining six spots,” King said. “Who’s healthy, who’s fit, Darwinism and luck will weed out a few. Then I just have to work hard and hope for the best.”

King’s Colorado training ahead of California consisted of some long days when weather permitted it, a fair amount of climbing, some motorpacing to simulate race efforts and some intervals on the trainer on foul-weather days. “I hate riding the trainer,” King said, “but I’ll do what I have to do.”

Some of his trainer workouts included three- to four-minute intervals at 400 watts with short recoveries of 250w.

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