The Cannondale-Drapac riders at the Giro d'Italia awoke Friday to the news of Andrew Talansky's stage victory at the Tour of California and immediately celebrated with their teammates, happy that the US squad had finally won big after a spring of near misses and disappointment.
Cannondale-Drapac had not won a WorldTour race since Davide Formolo's stage victory at the 2015 Giro d'Italia, having had to settle with placing and success in smaller races as they struggle to compete with the big-budget superteams in the peloton. However Talansky's win broke the dam and ended their WorldTour drought.
"It was good news to wake up to. We have a WhatsApp group, where we were all giving each other (digital) high fives," Michael Woods told Cyclingnews.
"Andrew rode an awesome race. It was cool to watch the video this morning, he rode a smart race. It was special to see.
Inspiration for a breakthrough
Woods has finished fifth on the two hilly finishes to Terme Luigiane and Peschici but Cannondale-Drapac has yet to win a stage at the 100th Giro d'Italia. Pierre Rolland was third in Bagno di Romagna on Thursday after working hard to get into the decisive attack, while other attacks, chases and sprints left them with little to show for their aggressive racing.
They are hoping their day will come in the final week in the high mountains, while Davide Formolo is fighting for a place in the top ten overall and the best young rider's white jersey.
"Lets hope that Andrew's win can help us break through. I think it can happen, we're extra motivated now," Woods said.
Joe Dombrowski went close to victory several times in the 2016 Giro d'Italia and is hoping to shine again this year after a difficult spring.
"A win is always good news: for us as an American team, with American sponsors and in an American race. It's is great for everyone," he told Cyclingnews.
Dombrowski and his teammates in Italy will be cheering for Talansky in the important 24km Big Bear Lake time trial on Friday, hoping to wake up to more good news on Saturday morning as they race to the mountain finish at Oropa.
Talansky is fourth overall at the Tour of California, just 44 seconds down on race leader Rafal Majka, with George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) an Ian Boswell (Team Sky) even closer.
"He probably has a good chance to win the overall classification too now," Dombrowski said. "Andrew is a good time trialist and he's right up there. It's possible we could win the Tour of California. That'd be huge!"