Andrew Talansky (Cannondale Garmin) is in a much better place both physically and mentally compared to last year’s Tour de France. The 2015 Tour has been a kinder mistress to Talansky than last year’s and he has been able to stay out of trouble during the first week.
The Cannondale-Garmin rider helped with the effort on the front during Saturday’s stage 8 to the Mûr de Bretagne, as the team hoped to deliver Dan Martin to victory. Martin went on to finish second and despite losing a small amount of time in the finish, Talansky is happy with how things panned out. “It was great, I think that it was a great day for me and the team,” Talansky told Cyclingnews after the stage.
“Obviously, it would have been a little nicer to win but Dan was second and he repaid all the hard work that the guys put in on the front. As a by-product, I was able to sit on the front and stay safe and out of trouble. It was a short and steep, and climbs like this aren’t my specialty so to ride how I did and to feel how I’m feeling, it’s good signs heading into the mountains.”
Talansky’s best finish at the Tour de France is his 10th place in his debut where the field was almost as strong as it is this year with only Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) really missing from the line-up. With the mountains just around the corner, he looks on course to pull out a similar result. Talansky currently sits in 19th in the overall classification at 2:07 behind Chris Froome, after losing time in the crosswinds on stage 2 and on the finishes in Huy and Mûr de Bretagne. With the time gaps only going to get bigger, Talansky is not worried about the time he’s lost this week.
“Days like Mur de Huy and days like today are all about managing and getting to the finish line as fast as possible and not really concerning myself with what other people are doing,” explained Talansky. “I guarantee in Paris the guy in front of me will be a few minutes in front and the person behind will be a few minutes behind. I think for the most part it will be the same for everybody inside the top 10 or the top five.”
Before the rest day and the riders’ first trip into the mountains, they must face the team time trial. The 28-kilometre test, which finishes on the Côte du Cadoudal, could see some bigger gaps appearing in the general classification. It’s the latest that the team time trial can take place and while the team have lost one of their key riders in Jack Bauer, Talansky - the reigning US national time trial champion - is confident.
“It’s nine days in and we’ve still got eight of our guys left,” he said. “Everybody is healthy, everybody is strong. We spent today on the front but there are other teams that have been doing that for seven days in a row. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and we’re going to give it our best effort and whatever that ends up being it will be and then we’ll head up into the mountains.”