Brentwood, New Hampshire native Ted King is officially out of his first Tour de France.
After suffering a separated shoulder in the first day of the race, yesterday King missed by seven seconds the time cut-off that allows racers to continue. Now, Ted King is getting ready to head home.
The trouble in 30-year-old Ted King’s very first Tour de France started early.
When the pack was only about three and a half miles from the finish on the first day, a team bus got stuck on a banner over the top of the finish line of the race.
Organizers radioed the bike racers to tell them the finish line would be moved up, and then when the bus came free moments later, they called again to go back to the original finish line.
This sowed confusion in the pack. Ted King went down in a huge crash, and wound up with a separated shoulder.
“It’s an incredibly painful injury, it’s basically a tearing of the ligaments between your collarbone and scapula,” King said via cellphone, while riding in the team bus toward the finish line of the fifth day of racing.
He was feeling pretty dejected. His parents arrived in France yesterday, just in time to watch him miss the time cut by seven seconds in an event called the team time trial.
This is where a team of nine riders drafts off one another in tight pace line, trying to go as fast as they can for 25 kilometers. King’s problem: his shoulder hurt so bad, he couldn’t stick with the pack.
“I’m proud of the time I put in in my individual time trial yesterday had I not been injured, let alone basically racing on half a functioning body,” said King of his performance.
After falling behind his team, he still raced at pretty respectable 28 miles per hour for a half hour straight. These are the kind of heroics that win riders fans in cycling: suffering, alone and injured, but gritting it out to finish a race.
Unfortunately, the winning team went faster than 35 miles per hour: the fastest finish in Tour de France history.
After it was announced that he didn’t make the cut, King’s fans – many of them from New Hampshire where he is still deeply connected to the cycling community – erupted on twitter; tweeting under the hashtag #LetTedRide, and #TedWatch.
And the cycling news website VeloNews ran an editorial saying that since race organizers had a hand in the crash that caused his injury, they should extend him seven-seconds of leniency in the time trial. But to no avail.
“I just wish it was seven seconds the other way. C’est la vie,” he says.
Having tasted the Tour de France, King’s ready for another next year. “This is our Superbowl, this is our world series, this is everything as a cyclist,” King explains with a sigh, “so yeah, fingers crossed I really hope to be here 2014 as well.”
And if he makes it again New Hampshire will be watching.