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"We'd done a lot of work but I knew he'd go better than me on the steep part, so I tried to get out front. But I hit the steep part and it was lights out. I honestly thought about getting off and running, it was that steep,&quo...

Photo: Sirotti




17.03.2014 @ 09:30 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Ben King of Garmin-Sharp has recorded his first ever podium finish in a World Tour race as he was the first rider to hit the brutal Muro di Guardiagrele climb on a thrilling fifth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico yesterday.


Even though the 24-year old American didn’t manage to bring home an advantage over his breakaway partner Simon Geschke (Giant-Shimano) and exceptional on that day Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), it was still a great effort from the Garmin-Sharp rider.

Motivated by the presence of his family, King decided to use some time in the spotlight and spent the day in a breakaway before reaching the bottom of the Italy’s steepest climb.


"My family is here, all the way from Virginia in the USA, they arrived last night, so it was a special day," he said after getting a hug from his parents and sister.


Despite an obvious difficulty of Tirreno-Adriatico’s fifth stage which saw some of the greatest protagonists of the 2014 season, like former leader of the race Michał Kwiatkowski cracking, King still managed to focus on tactics and tried to anticipate Contador and Geschke making sure he’d be the first one to approach the final ascent. Eventually he was passed by both riders, but hung on and finished a stage in a third position, 45 seconds behind the splendid Spaniard.


"It's my first podium finish in a WorldTour race and so I'm pretty happy about that. Having my family here gave me some extra motivation and it was cool to be out front to let them see me on television. I was thinking of a top three or even two. I was trying to get some space from the other guys. I also like to attack, it’s more exciting that way."

"On the long climb I couldn't drop Geschke. I attacked him a bunch but I couldn't get ride of him, so we worked together," he explained.


"They gave us a lot of time and when we had 11 minutes I thought we had a chance. Then they started chasing really hard and so we had to start going full gas on the climb."


"We waited a bit when we heard he was coming across but then he pulled for the last eight kilometres until the climb," he said about Contador in admiration


As it was a first occasion for the Garmin-Sharp rider to try his legs on a climb of such gradients, he admitted to be concerned about his ability to meet the challenge and that he even was tempted to get off a bike and continue running in the process.


"I don’t know if I've ridden a climb like that before in a race. It was so steep. My arms hurt as much as my legs after a climb like that," he said.


"We were talking about it at the breakfast. [David] Millar was already trying to decide the best way to avoid walking up the climb because he didn't want that haunting him all his life. I had that in my mind too and so I wanted to be off the front, so that I wasn't seen walking or running."


"We'd done a lot of work but I knew he'd go better than me on the steep part, so I tried to get out front. But I hit the steep part and it was lights out. I honestly thought about getting off and running, it was that steep."



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