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Tour de France stir over exclusion of injured American rider

The pack rides during the first stage of

The pack rides during the first stage of the Tour de France. (June 29, 2013) Credit: AP

CAGNES-SUR-MER, France -- American rider Ted King fought back tears Wednesday as the Tour de France peloton rode away without him because he was too injured to complete the previous stage in regulation time.

Some competitors felt race regulators were overzealous in excluding the Cannondale rider for being a fraction too slow in the team time trial.

"Rules are rules, but it is a little bit tough, isn't it?" said Richie Porte of Team Sky. "It does seem rough."

"I'm shredded," King said.

To compound his misery, the exclusion came as his parents were arriving in France to cheer him on at what had been his first Tour.

Cannondale said King missed the cut by just 7 seconds. Tuesday's team race against the clock on a 15½-mile course through Nice, won by the Orica GreenEdge team, was the fastest in Tour history, which made it harder for King to keep up.

King said he separated his left shoulder and sustained some nasty scrapes in a crash during Stage 1. That was about 7 miles from the finish and before a pileup that took out other riders, said Cannondale spokesman Paolo Barbieri.

Cannondale said its managers appealed without success to the race jury to allow him to continue.

"I would have hoped for more empathy given the scenario," King said. "I'm not looking for generosity; I'm not looking for a hug from (race organizers) ASO. I'm looking for some empathy, some understanding."

King's shoulder was too sore for him to ride his time trial bike Tuesday, so he had to race on a less aerodynamic road bike instead.

"I knew I was going to be suffering. I can't yank on the bars as a result of the shoulder," he said. "I'm crying on the inside right now. I've already cried a few times."

On Twitter, people posted messages of support with the hashtag LetTedRide.

"It's been tremendously heartwarming and the support has been phenomenal," King said.

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