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"This year is different and that’s good. I think it benefits me that we are going into the Pyrenees after the Alps. That will be good for me. And then the late-race final time trial definitely plays into my strengths,”...

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ANDREW TALANSKY

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26.06.2014 @ 08:30 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Even though 2013 edition of the Paris-Nice was regarded a breakthrough performance of the 25-year old Andrew Talansky, the Garmin-Sharp rider certainly stepped up to an entirely different level with his latest victory at the Criterium du Dauphine. The young American proved that he is not only able to match best climbers in the French mountains, but has an ability to anticipate the action and aggressiveness to blow the race apart in a perfect moment, but modestly sets improving on last year’s tenth position as his only objective in the coming Tour de France.

 

A surprise Criterium du Dauphine winner admitted that weakness of Tinkoff-Saxo squad combined with his ability to read the race were main foundations of his victory in French stage event.

 

“I was pretty happy after Saturday’s stage, being third overall behind Alberto Contador and Chris Froome. Sunday morning, to be honest, I was pretty much thinking that would be fine. But then Sunday’s stage started and it was pretty chaotic; we saw an opportunity and took it,” Talansky told Bicycling.com.

 

“It wasn’t a complete surprise. That first climb was harder than what was indicated on the profile. That contributed a bit most definitely. And it was obvious the whole week that Alberto Contador did not have the same team he is going to have at the Tour de France. His team wasn’t going to be able to control the race, and once people saw that, it was just a free for all. Sky saw that and started putting guys off the front and you immediately understood that the race wasn’t going to come together and you had to be up there in the action. “

 

Talansky admitted that an entirely different approach to Tour preparations implemented this season was mainly due to his already confirmed position within Garmin-Sharp team as well as to food poisoning he suffered in early months of 2014. At the same time the 25-year old American acknowledged, that he expects it to make for a more successful campaign in July, compared to his showing in the previous year, when he finished tenth in the general classification and second young rider behing Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

 

“I needed to come out last year and show the team that I could really be a leader. [My second at] Paris-Nice was really a breakthrough performance for me. But after that I hit some speed bumps. I got sick in the Tour of Romandie and was sick for part of the month of May. That’s not the ideal way to build up for the Tour de France because suddenly I was struggling to get my momentum going before the Tour. I finally did and I had a good third week in the Tour, but I struggled in the first two weeks.”

 

“This season I had food poisoning early on, right after our first training camp of the season. So I started races like the Tirreno-Adriatico on a back foot. I rode pretty well in the Tour of Catalonia and the Tour of Romandie but didn’t have a good result on paper, so yeah it was quieter.”

 

“But then I took a little break after Romandie and started building up for the Tour after that. My fitness was really good coming into the Dauphiné, I just didn’t know that it would be equal to winning the whole race.”

 

“I think it is better coming into the Tour de France this way as opposed to the way I did last year, especially when you are targeting a good GC ride. When you know that you have the training in; when you know that you’ve had a good result in the Dauphiné; when you know that the team is working well together. That’s just a really good way to head into the Tour. That’s what we have this year.”

 

“But last year was also my first Tour de France. This year, being my second, and knowing what to expect and how to approach it also helps. It helps knowing how important the third week is. It’s a long race.”

 

The Garmin-Sharp leader insists that consistency is a key to his successful performances in three-week events, what finds a confirmation in his last year’s showing at the Tour de France. Talansky didn’t ride impressively in the opening two weeks of competition, but managed to improve his position and enter the top ten in the final stages, when other riders started to blow successively.

 

“It kind of reiterated what I thought about myself after the Tour of Spain in 2012. In the beginning of the race, when every one is fresh, it’s not so easy for me. I just have to fight through. But in the third week, people crumble. I don’t know if I get better then, but I stay the same and the key is consistency—day in, day out, in every uphill finish, on the flat stages. It’s a pretty simple thing on paper, but it’s hard to do in the race. You don’t need a day where you go win the stage and then lose 12 minutes on an uphill finish the next.”

 

The young American also admitted that he finds this season’s Tour de France route more suitable to his characteristics, as he expects to face less favorable, irregular Pyrenean ascents on more equal terms with stronger climbers and to take some time on other GC contenders in the decisive individual time trial.

 

“Last year we did a lot of historic climbs, a team time trial and two individual time trials. This year is different and that’s good. I think it benefits me that we are going into the Pyrenees after the Alps. I really like the Alps and the more steady style of climbing. The Pyrenees are more jagged, but by the time we hit them in the third week, I think everybody will be pretty fatigued. That will be good for me. And then the late-race final time trial definitely plays into my strengths.”

 

Even though his career’s greatest victory in the Criterium du Dauphine had to significantly boost his confidence, the Garmin-Sharp leader insists that his objectives concerning the French grand tour hasn’t changed.

 

“Improve on last year. Winning the Dauphiné was great, but it doesn’t change my goal for the Tour. I ended up 10th last year, but I cracked big on one day, the day my teammate Dan Martin won the stage. I pretty much got that time back on another day, but my goal this year is to try and avoid that bad day, so I want to ride the whole three weeks at a high level and improve on last year’s result. That’s it. I’m 100-percent confident that if I am consistent for three weeks, it is going to be a significant improvement on last year’s result.”

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