Andrew Talansky stopped just after the finish line in La Toussuire following stage 19 on Friday and leaned over his bike for several minutes as he tried to fight the pain of yet another day in the Alps at the Tour de France.
The Cannondale-Garmin rider went on the attack again during the stage in pursuit of stage victory. It was his third consecutive day of aggression but he was still determined to give it a go. He ensured he was part of the 24-rider moved that formed early and then fought all the way to the finish in La Toussuire as he tried to move up into the top 10 of the overall classification.
He finished 12th on the stage, 4:17 behind stage winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and so moved up one place to 11th, 18:25 down on leader Chris Froome (Team Sky). With only the 110km mountain stage to L’Alpe d’Huez remaining, Talansky is a tantalising 58 seconds from 10th place held by Pierre Rolland (Europcar). With Tejay van Garderen (BMC) out of the race, Talansky is also defending US pride.
“It was full-gas racing, everything was blown to bits early on the Croix de Fer,” Talansky explained after recovering but still clearly fatigued. “It was full on from there, and I’m sure that continued up at the front on the last climb. I was just riding as hard as I could up to the finish.”
Talansky had a tough first part of the Tour de France. He lost time in the crosswinds on stage two and on the uphill finishes on the Mur de Huy and Mûr de Bretagne. Like teammate Dan Martin, he also suffered on the first mountain stage to La Pierre-Saint-Martin, losing more than 11 minutes to Chris Froome. However, he refused to be beaten by this year’s tough Tour de France route and the heat, attacking whenever the road has kicked up in the Pyrenees.