Garmin-Cervelo’s Tom Danielson is finally in the Tour de France. It’s been at least 4 years of lobbying Jonathan Vaughters but at last he makes the cut.
Something always seemed to go wrong and derail his plans for a tour ride. There was illness, diet issues, unpredictable form, untimely crashes, and at times a fragile psyche, even just plain bad luck.
That’s all behind him at least for the month of July in France. He’s going to the big show, La Grand Boucle, the best suffering you can do on a bike. Danielson is riding the Tour de France.
This year he rode a strong, consistent Tour of California, taking the final podium spot behind old men Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer of Radio Shack. Then he went to Switzerland and got himself a top ten result. There was nothing Vaughters could say but “allez Tom, venez avec nous a Paris.”
Some say the progression happened late but finally happened. Once saddled with the terrible expectations of being the next Lance Armstrong, Danielson couldn’t deliver those kind of goods. But Garmin has proved an ideal team for Danielson and slowly but surely Vaughters and his crew were able to build Danielson’s confidence and diagnose the mysterious way his body processing food. The massive talent began to show itself again.
It’s been a long, long ride for both Danielson and Garmin-Cervelo. At times Danielson has been frustrated and angry when those tour rides didn’t come through. He’s been short-listed a few times and had to endure watching guys like Ryder Hesjedahl go to France and surprise the cycling world.
But he’s got his airline ticket and hotel reservations now. The man is going to Brittany for the July 2nd start of the Tour de France. Ca c’est super fantastique, mon vieux.
After such a long wait, Danielson himself seemed stunned and at a loss for words. “I honestly don’t know what it means to me,” he said. “On the last day of the Tour, I’ll tell you what it means to me.”
It means a whole hell of a lot and we’re damn happy for Tom Danielson.