Pitbull back. Criterium du Dauphine no Dud.
Andrew Talansky got a stomach bug right before the Dolphin and dropped something like eight minutes on stage three.
However, he was able to soldier on and five days later put in a impressive ride on the last stage from Sisteron to Risoul. The race route threw three climbs at Talansky and the final Montée de Risoul was a Cat 1 wattage-fest that was 13.9 kilometers long with grades 6.7 %. No climb for a sick man but a good place to demonstrate a full recovery.
While the Team Sky duo of CHris Froome and Richie Porte did their pre-Tour smack-down, only Talansky was able to draw within 24 seconds of them by the summit.
It’s going to be a potentially thrilling Tour de France for Garmin-Sharp and team boss Jonathan Vaughters who will face perhaps his most difficult rosters decisions. Does he lean on the experience of guys like David Miller or a Christian Vande Velde or go with some young guns like Rohan Dennis who finished eighth on GC in the Criterium and second to Tony Martin in the stage 4 time trial?
This conundrum will be a challenge for Vaughters because he already has the quandary of what new wardrobe pieces to bring to the 100th birthday party of Le Grand Shindig. You can almost feel his pain — bring the suede wingtips or the yellow hush puppies, take the Brit Millar or the Aussie Dennis? Dur, c’est dur.
Whatever the call, the squad will coming roaring into Corsica with Ryder Hesjedal fully recovered from his mystery Giro d’Italia illness, a confident Dan Martin who can’t wait to tackle the big climbs and a fast rising Andrew Talansky just itching to test himself in Le Tour. Throw a climber like Tom Danielson and we have ourselves a party. Argyle Army on the Attack!
Twisted Spoke is predicting a all-guns blazing Tour with Garmin-Sharp, Katusha and Saxo-Tinkoff all looking to throw Sky balance from kilometer one. Nobody wants a repeat of the Sky machine grinding everyone to death with their 450 watt pace on the climbs — and in any case, Froome isn’t the same kind of rider as Wiggins. Tactically, this should be a fantastic show.
If anything has been true this year, it’s that bad weather and unexpected attacks in unlikely places are the best way to foul up the careful computer projections of the Sky Tour project, version 2.
We can’t wit to see what Vaughters and DS Charlie Wegelius will cook up. This is a creative group of troublemakers and rabble rousers. Then you’ve got several aggressive Spaniards in Contador and Rodriguez plus — much to our continuing disappointment, the unrepentant Alejandro Valverde.
Vive le Tour, vive le Pit bull.