UPDATE: Ted King was interviewed by NBC Sports this morning. His remarks begin at the 2:25 mark of the video.
In the French-influenced lingo of pro cycling, Ted King is nothing more than a domestique, a worker bee whose only job is protecting and serving his more talented teammates. If Peter Sagan, the star of King's Liquigas Cannondale team, needs shielding from the wind (or just a bottle of water) during a race, King is expected to hop to it.
King fulfilled a dream Saturday by riding in his first Tour de France. It didn't go well for the 30-year-old American who's been a pro cyclist since 2006. A few miles from the finish, King was injured in a crash, leaving him with a separated shoulder and a lot of road rash.
King pledged he would stick with the Tour de France's remaining 20 stages in spite of the pain, though he acknowledged to a reporter that his injury would "get worse before it gets better."
Tuesday's fourth stage was a quick 15-mile team sprint that stood in stark contrast to the first three 100-mile-plus stages. Unfortunately, it may be the last one for King this year. Race officials disqualified him because he missed the time cutoff by seven seconds. Seven seconds out of the three-week event that includes more than 80 hours of time on a bicycle.
By mid-afternoon Tuesday, the Twittersphere had taken up King's case, arguing that officials had misjudged the rider's finishing time, arguing that riding with a separated shoulder deserves some small degree of mercy, arguing that if this domestique is brave enough to ride through the excruciating pain, he should be given that opportunity. Agreed.
Bob Davis is associate publisher/editor of The Anniston Star. Contact him at 256-235-3540 or bdavis @annistonstar.com.
UPDATE: Here's a look at Ted King in better days.