Is Levi’s loss Andrew Talansky gain?
The Tour of California was shaping up as a four way ProTeam battle between heavyweights RadioShack Nissan Trek, Garmin-Barracuda, Omega Pharma Quickstep and BMC. However, an old Spanish lady in a car has destroyed Leipheimer’s chances of winning his fourth title in California.
“There’s still pain in my leg,” Leipheimer said. “There’s soreness when I try and apply a little more force or get out of the saddle. I can still train, but it is not easy. I’m not sure about my participation in Tour of California at this point.”
That sounds like a No-Go to Twisted Spoke. Leipheimer may be at the start in his hometown of Santa Rosa but he’ll be in street clothes and holding a glass of pinot noir.
With one major contender crossed off the list, that perhaps opens up a podium spot for the young Talansky. As his DS Allan Peiper said, the kid made “a big statement” by finishing just seconds behind Tour of Romandie winner Bradley Wiggins in both the time trial and overall.
Garmin-Barracuda will bring a monster team to California to gang up on the 40 year old bald guy Chris Horner. Last year’s winner will have to watch out for Dave Zabriskie (3rd in 2010), Tom Danielson (3rd last year) and Talansky. That’s when he’s not keeping an eye on BMC’s Tejay Van Garderen (5th last year) who is going to insist on a podium spot.
While Horner claimed the only rider he feared was Leipheimer, the Garmin trio presents tactical problems. It’s the classic “lots of cards to play” cliche and Jonathan Vaughters has a great hand. Talansky is someone Horner can’t let go on the Big Bear and Baldy stages.
Allan Peiper was full of praise for Talansky — or should that be Talent-sky? “This kid Talansky is fast becoming ‘the man Talansky’, and we have the depth behind him to support that growth further in the future.”
Maybe the future is arriving sooner than we think — say, May 13th, Santa Rosa, California.