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“One of the most overriding feelings was that my team was going to finish that stage and find out I had quit the race after everything they'd done for me. For about five minutes, the pain was a little better. I kept telling myself...

Photo: ASO








19.07.2014 @ 22:02 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Andrew Talanksy endured one of the most unforgettable moments of the Tour de France when he battled all day to remain within the time limit despite suffering from crashes sustained before the rest day, yet he was forced to be a non-starter for stage 12. He was in tears by the end of stage 11.


Asked how he felt at the start of the eleventh stage, he said:


“I was optimistic at the start of that day. We were optimistic we could get me through that stage and go for the stage win that day with the team, in the hopes that I would end up feeling better later in the race and maybe be able to go for a stage win myself.”


He also elaborated further on his injuries:


“The most problematic thing was my SI joints running into my lower back from the crash. It's like an ankle, if you twist your ankle and keep running on it, it's not going to get better. The best way to describe it is, it keeps me from going hard. It's like you're stuck in first gear, just completely takes away my ability to pedal. It's like you have a limiter on, a governor on. It was a strange feeling,” he told ESPN.


“While you're in the Tour you're just thinking day-to-day, how can I get through the race tomorrow. Even with that first crash, that was exactly how my mind worked. I didn't want other people to worry about me, I didn't want my teammates to worry. Honestly, in the moment, you're convincing yourself there's no reason to worry. I wanted to believe I could brush that off and keep going. It was a much harder impact than I let myself understand at the time. Obviously we came to see the full consequences of it.”


Talansky admits that he was tempted to stop during the stage but his DS, South African Robbie Hunter, convinced him to ride on.


“When I got off my bike, Robbie came and said, 'It's OK, we're gonna talk for a minute, just sit down here, we have time.' I was pretty emotional at that point; I thought that was the end of my Tour, on the side of some no-name road in the middle of France. Also, I was thinking of my teammates getting to the bus that day and hearing that I stopped the race. I felt I owed more to them, but there was no more I could do.”


“Robbie helped me calm down so I could make the choice for myself. He didn't say, 'Get back on the bike,' but nor did he say stop. He said: 'This is a choice only you can make, but take a moment to make sure you make the one you're going to be happy with, make it not out of a place of emotion or anger or fear, but make it out of what can you do, what's possible. If you want to stop, that's OK, then get in the car and it'll be fine. If you want to keep going, then you need to get back on your bike and we'll go to the finish at whatever speed you can ride.'”


“One of the most overriding feelings was that my team was going to finish that stage and find out I had quit the race after everything they'd done for me. For about five minutes, the pain was a little better. We started one of the proper climbs of the day and I thought, I made a huge mistake. I kept telling myself, just another kilometer. Robbie kept me calm, kept me focused.”


“I wanted to finish the stage so I could look them in the eyes and thank them for everything they've done. Some days my best isn't gonna be good enough, and that day my best was finishing a half-hour down on the stage winner. Just so they know I'm the kind of person who isn't going to give up when something goes wrong.”


”People on the side of the road were incredibly supportive, and that was a huge shock to me. They were cheering for me like I was gonna win the stage and I was half an hour behind the leaders.”


“I was crying when I got on the bus. I was frustrated that my best, that was it. That was everything I had to give. It didn't repay them (his teammates) in any way for what they did. It didn't help one of them win a stage. But that was all I could do. That was the only way I had was finishing the stage and honoring everything they had done for me.”


“I don't 100 percent understand why I needed to do that for myself. We talk a lot in the sport about suffering. I thought of it later -- when I'm at the front of the race like the Dauphine, you're racing for a win, a stage or the whole race, you might be suffering but you're doing what you love to do on the bike. Stage 11, that was suffering in the purest sense. No victory on the line, no podium, no nothing. The sport constantly has redefined for me what I'm capable of mentally and physically. That day showed me when I need it, there's more in my body, more I can do than even I can believe sometimes. I think it's a day that will serve me very well in the future.”




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