BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Cannondale has just announced Talansky will skip the Tour for the Vuelta.
My mind in on fellow Norcal resident and Tour de France GC dark horse Andrew Talansky. Shout out from Corte Madera to Napa, bro.
Burning query: Is Talansky ready to make the next jump in the progression and improve on his top ten in the Grand Shindig, maybe go top five, terrify people, make Froome, Quintana and Contador take notice?
Until his final stage fade out in the recent Tour de Suisse, things were looking pretty damn optimistic for the man nicknamed Pitbull for his tenacity and aggressiveness. He was all lined up for the podium but just couldn’t make the final selection on the last day. Hey, it happens.
However, until the moment, Talansky was impressive and kickstarting a new narrative: ready for TDF, perhaps even pushing Jonathan Vaughter’s new toy Pierre Rolland all the way to plan B. Mais non, c’est pas le cas.
Generally speaking, it’s hard not to bump up his chances in July because since May he’s been on track. Avoiding his usual issues with allergies at the Tour of California, he placed 4th on GC in the Tour of Cali when teammate Lawson Craddock was the projected captain.
Then in Switzerland he strung together some good days in the mountains and in the time trial to jack up his odds of a podium there, too. Didn’t happen but even Froome has an off-day now and then — although the Sky algorithm plans to eliminate that shortly.
The Pitbull is a fine animal. To quote wikipedia on the subject, the pitbull’s “dog fighting ancestry dictates a strong-willed, no-nonsense kind of dog who does not take kindly to being challenged by other assertive dogs.”
In other words, Talansky would chew off Froome’s leg if that would mean the final maillot jaune. Personally there is probably more meat on Quintana’s calf but you do what you have to do.
To some degree, Talansky has struggled with the same issues in the Tour de France as has Tejay van Garderen. While both have shown much promise and consistent mental and physical strength over the three weeks of misery, there’s always a jour sans or illness that derails their podium ambitions.
Talansky is a confident and vocal rider unafraid of giving his opinions. When he knocked off a top ten in the Tour de France several years ago, he began to take on a statesman role, with pronouncements of all kinds on the sport.
Since those high heights, he has become a little more reserved, back under the radar. We miss the free-wheeling Talansky and his media-friendly exposition. A top five would certainly loosen his tongue again.
Cannondale will have a rather interesting tag team on display in France. New signing Pierre Rolland (and his new found aerodynamics) will hope to improve his 10th and 8th on GC in his home grand tour. Expectations are even higher after Vaughters went out of his way to gush about Rolland’s new found potential after he escaped the antiquated training methods at Europcar.
It’s nearly the same story for Talansky — it’s a long haul from 10th to 5th in the Tour de France. Who is the alpha dog at Cannondale — is it the pitbull or the French Mastiff? According to the canine experts, the mastiff is “a large, powerful dog but they have fairly soft temperaments.”
Is that Rolland? Will the Pitbull eat him alive and then attack the rest of the peloton? This should be doggone fascinating.