Tom Danielson, the Champs Elysees smile.
Who would have thunk? Tommy D, Tour top ten!
If you had the privilege of watching the Versus TV interview of Tom Danielson after the climbed off his time trial bike in Grenoble, you watched a rare bit of unscripted cycling history.
Danielson had just locked up a 9th place on the general classification in his first damn Tour de France and he was so genuinely surprised he couldn’t control his joyous obscenities.
To sum it up, he was fuckin’ happy.
It’s been a long hard road for the Coloradan and his story is no unlike the basic outlines of any cycling histoire: youthful talent, suffering, more suffering, disappointment, failure, hints of renewed promise, failure, suffering.
Finally, the diet issues and food allergies and lack of confidence and burden of expectations and endless stress turned around at the Tour of California. He finished third and felt fantastic.
He took his form and happiness to the biggest big race in the world and smashed it. Day after day, riding at the front or close enough.
It was as impressive a performance in some ways as Thomas Voeckler. It was a long time coming but Tom Danielson will now tell you it was worth the wait.
Tonight he parties in Paris, not necessarily a new man but sure as Hell a happy one.