Last year at the Tour of California I was talking with Garmin-Sharp’s aero guru Robbie Ketchell about the Bakersfield time trial. Specifically, I was curious about how different riders mentally prepare.
Ketchell explained that a guy like Dave Zabriskie — who won the TT that day — had to be left alone to psych up, tunneling deep inside himself, channeling the forces of good and evil and converting it all into rocket fuel.
The polar opposite approach was that of young gun Andrew Talansky, who was coming off his near miss in Romandie where he was second, just one tick of the clock behind winner Bradley Wiggins (Sky) in the Crans-Montana time trial.
According to Ketchell, the kid doesn’t require an intense psychological process to work himself into kill mode, he just shows up ready to smash it. We mean it as a compliment when we say Talansky has the swagger and confidence of a young, pre-EPO Lance Armstrong.
One year later, Talansky is back in Romandie and again the rider nicknamed “Pitbull” came close to winning the time trial. This time around it was another Skybot, Chris Froome, who beat him but Talansky took second just six seconds back. (Teammate Tom Danielson also broke into the top ten.)
The 7.45k time trial in the foothills of Verbier, France was a challenge for many top riders. World time trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma Quick Step) fell to 16th, 29 seconds down on Froome. Robert Gesink, Lieuwe Westra and Jurgen Van Den Broeck all struggled. There is but one Pitbull in the race!
Talansky is only 24 — two years younger than teammate Dan Martin who just won Liege-Bastogne-Liege. It will be interesting watch his progression after his terrific results last season — second overall in Romandie and an impressive seventh in the Vuelta a Espana. Rumor has it that 2013 is the year he makes his Tour de France debut. Le Pitbull et Le Grand Shindig!
Talansky is just six seconds down in Romandie and everybody knows he is here to smash it.