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A very happy Thomas Danielson on the podium
Garmin-Sharp rider focusing on Utah and Colorado
Danielson broke the news on his Twitter account, adding, “I haven't been myself and am looking forward to this month to get back to normal for Utah and Colorado.”
Danielson, 36, has competed in the Tour de France three times with Garmin. His eighth-place finish during his first attempt in 2011 was the team's top general classification result that year, but in 2012 he crashed out of the race on stage 6 during Garmin's disastrous campaign. Danielson returned last year and finished 60th overall on his way to helping Andrew Talansky secure a top-10 result.
With Talansky's recent win at the Critérium du Dauphiné, Garmin's Tour squad has been picked to give him the best possible chance for a spot on the final overall podium in Paris. Although Danielson is not on that roster, he praised the squad that will be on the start line July 5 in Yorkshire.
“Also excited to see the team contend for a podium in France!!! What a team we have this year!” he wrote on Twitter.
Danielson did not finish the US professional championships road race at the end of May, and he most recently dropped out of the Tour de Suisse on the final day. He started the season in February at the Tour de San Luis, where he finished 22nd overall and helped guide teammate Phil Gaimon through several days in the leader's jersey. Danielson was unable to finish both the Volta a Catalunya and Vuelta al Pais Vasco in succession before springing back at Tour de Romandie.
Danielson returned to the US in May and finished 14th overall at the Tour of California while helping teammate Rohan Dennis finish second overall. He also rode onto California's stage 6 podium during the uphill finish at Mountain High, where recent Tour de Suisse stage winner Johan Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) won the day. Danielson dropped out of the Swiss tour during the final stage, a 156km roller-coaster ride through the Alps that finished with the out-of-category ascent to Sass-Fee.
Cyclingnews contacted Danielson for a comment, but he declined an interview, saying he was laying low while focusing 100 per cent on winning the upcoming UCI stage races in Utah and Colorado this August.
Danielson won the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah last year on the final day by dropping previous race leader Chris Horner (RadioShack) on the climb up Empire Pass. Francisco Mancebo (5-hour Energy) beat Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) in a two-up sprint for the stage win that day, but Danielson's third-place finish and time advantage over Horner propelled him into the overall win.
Two weeks later at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado, Danielson finished third overall behind BMC's Tejay van Garderen and Mathias Frank. Van Garderen took the race lead from Garmin's Lachlan Morton on the stage into Beavercreek after Danielson dropped from a four-rider lead group on the rain-slicked descent off the penultimate climb.
At the final press conference in Colorado, Danielson joked with organizers about adding a summit finish for the first time in the race's history. Danielson will get his wish this year in Colorado, and Utah has added another summit finish as well. The USA Pro Challenge will offer its first chance for the pure climbers to shine this year when stage 3 finishes on Monarch Mountain. Riders will ascend the 3,444 meter pass from both west and east during the 140km stage.
Utah, which will be a day longer this year, has added a summit finish on Powder Mountain during stage 4 to go along with the Queen Stage finish at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort. The seven-day race will finish once again with the climb up Empire Pass and the long, technical descent into Park City. Horner's Lampre-Merida team will be in Utah, but it's not certain if the 2013 Vuelta a Espana winner will return to renew his general classification battle with Danielson.