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Liquigas-Cannondale eye King and Duggan

Ted King and Timothy Duggan are reported to be close to sealing a deal with the Italian ProTour team Liquigas-Cannondale in 2011, according to The US-based Cannondale bike brand recently partnered with the team as a co-title sponsor.

Duggan, a Colorado native, competed for the ProTour Garmin-Transitions team, and has raced under manager Jonathan Vaughter since 2005 when the team was called TIAA-CREF. After a serious head injury in 2008 he went on to strong stage performances at the Dauphine Libere and the Tour of Austria in 2009.

King, a New Hampshire native, raced for the previous two years for the Cervelo Test Team and played an integral role during the Giro d’Italia during those two seasons.

"I'm still in the midst of contract talks right now," King told Cyclingnews several weeks ago. "I am pleased to say that some of these talks are in the advanced stages and they should be wrapped up soon. The discussions were primarily through my agent, Andrew McQuaid, or I received calls from a few sports directors throughout the peloton asking about my interest in a specific program."

King was forced to look for a new team after the Cervelo Test Team disbanded. The team announced it would stop at the end of the year with the title and bike sponsor Cervelo forming a partnership with Garmin-Transitions.

"Basically I'm a no-nonsense kind of guy on the bike," King said. "I saddle up, go out there, and do my job. Having spoken the Cervelo team directors, owners, and manager over the past few months, I know they were happy with me, so I was looking forward to returning in 2011. Cervelo is the team that gave me my first shot at Europe and you need to honor that with loyalty in return."

"Having said that, cycling can be a cut-throat business, so it’s important at the same time to have a back up plan," he added. "Therefore with my contract set to expire at the end of 2010, I was speaking with other teams as well. My first two years in Europe have been good so I was pleased that other teams were looking at me as well. I saw that as evidence that I was on the right track."

King noted that joining a North American domestic team was a consideration and acknowledged the progress that such teams have made since he departed Bissell at the end of 2008. This year there are three teams in the process of moving up to the Professional Continental ranks including UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis, Team Type 1 and SpiderTech p/n Planet Energy.

"The talks are with both ProTour and Pro Continental teams," he added. "There is tremendous progress with North American teams making the leap to the European peloton. At the end of the day, the past two years have been more than enough to convince me that I want to remain racing in Europe for years to come."

Furthermore, American racing has taken a significant step up with the addition of the two new Canadian ProTour races and three US stage races joining the UCI calendar; Tour of the Gila, Tour of Utah and Quiznos Pro Challenge.

"Especially for me as an American, that's really exciting for the continually developing state of cycling in America," King said. "While it was a bummer for me to miss the two Canadian ProTour races, I have high hopes that we'll see their return in 2011 and beyond. Additionally, the right people are on board for the upcoming Tour in Colorado [sic] to make that successful for years to come. As an American, these are obvious races I look forward to taking part in the near future. It's awesome to see these racing opportunities come back to this continent."

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Kirsten Frattini

Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.