Old man John Wilcockson over at Peloton Magazine says that the US Pro Cycling Challenge will likely be a GC battle between BMC’s Tejay van Garderen and Garmin-Sharp’s Andrew Talansky.
Wilcockson ought to know: he’s done more Tours de France than you’ve had sexual partners over your entire life. The man is an encyclopedia of pro cycling facts, some of them rather dusty.
In any case, he did a nice job of contrasting the moods and success of both riders in the Tour de France. Van Garderen, who was the Tour revelation with his 5th place overall last year, bombed out badly on the first day in the Pyrenees and finished way down the final rankings. He comes back to his home state of Colorado needing some good news and a good finish to the season.
On the other hand, Andrew Talansky fulfilled all the high expectations in his first Tour, riding a strong and consistent race and finishing in 10th. An impressive performance that confirmed for the Pitbull that he has what it takes to someday battle for the podium in France. He arrives in the Rocky Mountains with his confidence sky high.
What struck me about the story is that I had the same experience as Wilcockson when he spoke with van Garderen at the summit of Annecy-Semnoz, moments after the finish. Wilcockson described van Garderen as sad and not much interested in talking as he sat on the back on the team car, the hatch open.
When I reached van Garderen I could see he had no desire whatsoever to talk. He stared off into space like he was numb and depressed and of course exhausted after three hard weeks in France. He was done, Tour finished and it had turned out badly.
I told him how impressed I was by his ride on Alpe d’Huez but he didn’t respond, didn’t look up, didn’t move a muscle. He just wasn’t in the mood for anything and was lost deep in his own thoughts. I left him alone and headed down the mountain.
Let’s hope van Garderen resurrects his season and gives Mr. Talansky a good fight of there may be more silence and staring off into space.