Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) was happy to make it through stage nine of the Tour de France with all his skin remaining. The American is still suffering the effects of two heavy crashes in the last two days, but finished safely within the main peloton.
"It was definitely not fun," Talansky told the press after doing his daily warm down. "Crashing pretty hard at high speed two days in a row, the team got me through today but it was a really difficult day for me. Of all the days, I could just feel the effects of hitting the ground twice and it was really a struggle to get through and I was really happy to just get to the finish."
It was a day for the escapees, with almost every team looking to put their riders into the breakaway. Astana were more than happy to let it go and allow Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol) to take the yellow jersey. Astana’s tactic played into the hands of Talansky, as he tries to recover from his accident.
"It's nothing unusual, but always the day after crashes like that you feel a bit strange and you can feel a bit odd on the bike. The way the stage went was really good for us," directeur sportif Charly Wegelius told Cyclingnews at the finish. "It went just the way we hoped it would go. In the sense that the main contenders for the race didn't face off against each other and we bought ourselves another day to get Andrew through his crash and hopefully be ready for tomorrow."
The primary goal for Talansky will be to get over the injuries he sustained in the two accidents, before attempting to reduce the deficit to the leaders. Talansky avoided a time loss on stage seven, but went on to lose 2:20 after his crash on Saturday. It leaves him more then four minutes down and with an extra mountain to climb in the GC battle.
“"Our target has never been results-based, it's always been performance-based. We want to ride the best race for three weeks and see where we are," explained Wegelius. "There's no reason why he can't be in the group. In a way it is becoming something of a two-horse race, but he can make profit of that, just like he did in the Dauphiné so I think it is still all to play for."
Monday's stage 10 to La Planche des Belles Filles will be the biggest test yet of Talansky's injuries. The 161.6-kilometre stage takes in seven climbs, four of which are first category, including the summit finish. Ahead of the test, Talansky remains positive about his chances.
"Things can change day to day," he says."We're hoping for the best, it’s still a long race. Obviously I'll give everything I have tomorrow and the team will give everything they have but you've just got to hope that it’s better than today."