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“Today was an amazing day for me and a big step forward. I had great support from the team all week and especially from Ryder. Thanks to him and the entire team. This is such a special victory," Talansky says

Photo: Sirotti

ANDREW TALANSKY

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CRITERIUM DU DAUPHINE

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EF EDUCATION - EASYPOST

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RYDER HESJEDAL

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15.06.2014 @ 21:22 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Andrew Talansky did what most had thought impossible when he denied Chris Froome and Alberto Contador the overall win in the Criterium du Dauphiné by launching a long-distance attack in the final stage. The result confirms his great potential but even though it proves how far he has come, he refuses to see himself as a Tour de France favourite.

 

In 2012 he was second in the Tour de Romandie and last year he was second in the Paris-Nice and 10th in his debut Tour de France. Andrew Talansky has proved that he is one of the greatest stage racing talent but today he stepped into a new league when he won one of the most difficult races on the calendar, the Criterium du Dauphiné.

 

It was not only the win itself that makes people wonder how far Talansky can come. The fact that he had beaten Chris Froome and Alberto Contador makes the feat even more impressive and the way he stole it all in the final stage made him look like a true champion.

 

Going into the final stage, he was sitting in third overall but he refused to being content with a position as the best of the rest. On the first climb of the day, he went on the attack and in a direct duel againt Contador he emerged as the strongest.

 

“I didn't plan to do anything like this, especially today as it was the last chance for many teams to go and try to win a stage," he said. "We saw some riders attacking so Ryder [Hesjedal] and I went with them.

 

"Towards the end, we had the time gaps but I was trying not to think of winning the race but I focused on my ride only. Once I past the finishing line and I looked at the TV screen, that's when I realized I won.

 

"It's an absolute honour to win the Dauphiné. This is the biggest victory of my career so far and I hope there's more to come. I've always believed, and my entourage always believed that I'm capable of achieving something like this but it takes time to put results on the road. It pays off for all the sacrifices I and my family do. It's a reward for my passion for cycling. Moments like this make it up for all the bad moments I've had on the bike.

 

“Today was an amazing day for me and a big step forward. I had great support from the team all week and especially from Ryder. Thanks to him and the entire team. This is such a special victory.

 

“I didn’t truly believe it after I crossed the line and watched the seconds tick by. I knew what the time gap was at the bottom of the climb and Bingen Fernández was giving me updates from the car. It was steady but I thought that there was a chance Contador would hit the final climb and come up to me or at least take 30 seconds back but after such a hard day, such a hard week, everyone was pretty tired and I was able to hold onto the gap.”

 

Despite his win, Talansky refuses to see himself as a favourite for the Tour de France.

 

“I have to say my fitness this week didn’t surprise me," he told Cyclingnews. "I knew exactly where I was coming into the race and I planned to get better during the race. I didn’t expect that would end with the podium or a race win but it did. So for the Tour, it doesn’t really change a thing. The Tour is the Tour and the Dauphiné is the Dauphiné, and you have to stay realistic.” 

 

Hesjedal played an instrumental role in setting up Talansky's win.

 

“Helping Andrew take the win today was a honor," he said. "Its been a hard week of racing but we’ve worked as a team and I’m really proud of his victory. Andrew showed amazing grit and perseverance and I couldn’t be happier for him and the team.”

 

“We knew coming in that today’s short, hilly stage could be dangerous," sports director Gert Van Bondt said. "After 20 km there was a short hard climb, where there were many attacks and a group of 21 riders went clear. Andrew and Ryder were in it so it was the perfect situation for us. 

 

"Ryder did an amazing job helping Andrew all day and all week. Then, at  20 km to go, we told Andrew that he had to do his own TT and give everything and go for the GC win. He did it, and he showed today that he is a true champion. We are very happy and proud of this win.”

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