Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Barracuda) is hoping his breakthrough second place at the Tour de Romandie kicks him to a higher level in the European peloton. The performance is validation for the rider whom many believe could be the next American to have success in grand tours.
The 23-year-old just missed victory in Sunday’s final-day time trial, losing to Bradley Wiggins (Sky) by less than one second, and earned his first major stage-race podium with second overall to Wiggins by 12 seconds.
Speaking to VeloNews by telephone after traveling from Switzerland to California, Talansky said he takes satisfaction in what comes as a major confirmation of his potential in the pro ranks.
“I am very excited and happy to finish second overall at the Tour de Romandie, and second to a rider of a caliber like Wiggins,” Talansky told VeloNews. “People have been telling me a long time I could do something like that. It’s one thing believing it and having the talent, but it’s another thing to put it into action.”
Following his promising debut last season, including a handful of top-10s and making it through a punishing Vuelta a España, Talansky’s second season in the bigs has been bumpy out of the gates. He fell ill at the Volta ao Algarve in February and then crashed at Tirreno-Adriatico.
Garmin-Barracuda told him to ease off the gas and get healthy again. He came into Romandie without pressure, but with the quiet confidence that he had the legs to perform.
With the team rallying around him at the WorldTour race, and riders such as Christian Vande Velde, Daniel Martin and David Zabriskie riding to protect him in the bunch, Talansky was able to save his legs for the decisive moments in the race.
“It did surprise me a little bit. To be second to Wiggins is a pretty huge result,” he said. “As the week progressed, I was feeling good on the climbs. Right from the prologue, I could tell I was back to my old self on the time trial bike. The team really supported me as the week went on. To have guys like Vande Velde working for me is a pretty crazy experience. Three years ago I was watching those guys ride into the top-10 at the Tour.”
One decision that was critical to his Romandie success was the call by Talansky and the team to race with the time trial bike instead of road bike on the final TT. The stage featured a heavy climb midway through the course, prompting many riders to forego the heavier TT setup in favor of a lighter road bike.
“I think Richie (Porte) might have been a second faster than me on the split, but I was 17 seconds faster on the second half of the course,” he said. “We made a good decision on the selection of the bike. I was close to Wiggins, but he also had some sort of mechanical, so the difference would have been eight or nine seconds, but that’s also part of bike racing.”