The Inner Ring just posted his top 10 riders to watch with American Andrew Talansky in that select and curious group.
The question was essentially, will 2016 be an up or down year for the Pitbull after a generally underwhelming 2015 in which he won just one race — the US National Time Trial Championship?
When he’s on form he wins the 2014 Dauphiné and nearly takes the 2013 Paris-Nice but when he’s not firing on all cylinders, well, things get quiet fast. Talansky seems to be all or nothing when it comes to performances.
The most intriguing question is how the co-habitation with Cannondale’s new arrival Pierre Rolland will work out at the Tour de France. Right now the teammates look like an odd tag team for Le Grand Shindig and personality-wise they’d seem to be opposites.
Talansky didn’t come by the nickname Pitbull by chance. He’s a fiery and emotional rider and that’s a contrast to a much more low key Frenchmen. How will that play out on the road when they both have similar goals?
Rolland has two top tens and an eight on GC in the Tour while Talansky has a top ten and last year, despite multiple crashes and bad luck, still fought his way up to 11th.
Rolland has always struck us an outsider who is free to ride his own race in the Tour. At Europcar, it always seemed he was a wildcard, a version of the now retired David Moncoutié of Cofidis who would quietly climb the GC standings when the mountains arrived. Like Moncoutie, there’s a diffidence about him and the fire isn’t always obvious.
Meanwhile Talansky is all fire, all the time. He’s an explosive rider who can ride with Froome and Contador on a good day but lots of stars have to align. He’s had bad patches of crashes, allergies and general misfortune.
It’s going to be very interesting to watch these two work together (or not) at the 2016 Tour de France. Le Pitbull and Pierre.