Ted King is in his seventh year as a professional cyclist, sporting bright green spandex as he trots around the globe racing for Italy’s powerhouse Liquigas-Cannondale team—akin to an Italian playing for the Boston Red Sox.

More than just a jock, King pens a popular blog, writes for Bicycling Magazine, and cultivates a tomato garden at his European home base in Lucca, Italy. On the eve of the Amgen Tour of California, we sat down with Ted to talk tunes, teammates and Italia.

**Ciao Ted, what’s new? **

Ciao Amici! Well, the Amgen Tour of California is right around the corner, and because my job is pretty integrally tied with my overall well-being in addition to being what I do for fun, what I do for work, and pretty much what I do, then the Tour of California is what’s new. I’ve been out here the North Bay and now Napa for about a week getting ready for the race to kick off Sunday in Santa Rosa.

What’s the coolest thing about living abroad in Italy?

The full cultural emersion is pretty awesome. A big part of that is being on an Italian team. Whereas a lot of Americans move to Europe because of the racing, they’re still on predominantly American teams. Being over in Italy AND being on an Italian team makes for a really unique experience. Plus it makes everyday interactions that much easier since I do it in Italian.

What’s the forecast of your tomato crop this year? What variety are you growing?

It pains me to say it, but weak to very weak. Last year was a bumper crop, assisted by an injury-plagued spring, so I could really hone my green thumb. But this year I’ve actually been racing well and not spending much time in the garden so my tomato crop is whatever I purchase at the market – which are never planted and promptly eaten.

After a long stay abroad, what’s the first thing you look forward to when arriving stateside?

A cup of coffee larger than a thimble. Italian coffee, albeit delicious, is comically small. I’m an American and I like my coffee American’ized. Litero coffee please!

**What kind of music do your Italian teammates listen to? **

Far more electronic stuff than I care for. Although Daniel Oss with a rockstar’s hairdo is actually something of a rockstar himself. And his fondness for 80s rock is something I highly appreciate.

Do you hear a lot of Andrea Bocelli on the team bus before/after races?

He doesn’t get a lot of playtime because the smooth, easy listening doesn’t exactly get you pumped up.  But American media is huge in Europe, so movies, TV shows, and obviously music are all high on their post-race to-do list.

Describe your music tastes in 5 words (or 10)

Eclectic, excellent, uninformed, easily influenced (which is actually one word in iamtedking.com land), and incomplete.

Since you rock the party that rocks the piñata, what’s your #1 all-time party anthem?

I’d be remiss to not say Bicycle by Queen.

**And submitted by fan on Twitter: **

From ‪@techknowgn@Rhapsody @iamtedking @AmgenTourofCali – yes, please ask ted the perfect music for making fluff sandwiches to

Although not as old as Fluff itself, the artistic and sultry voice of Cat Stevens compliments the art of making a delicious Fluffernutter sandwich.

To check out Ted’s playlist on Rhapsody, click here

(photos courtesy of Michael Robertson – velodramatic.com)