BELFORT, France (VN) — Two crashes in as many days proved too many for American Andrew Talansky to cope with, as he slipped of the back of the favorites on the cruel tilt of La Planche des Belles Filles.
When it was all over Monday, Talansky parted with 10 minutes 12 seconds on the day and fell to 26th on general classification, down more than 14 minutes to Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). He began Monday’s seven-climb test in 19th and just a day before that was in eighth place, but crashes cost the “pit bull” dearly.
He went down whip-crack fast Friday when he and Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) crossed paths, and again on Saturday, on a wet descent. He also went down on the cobbled stage 5, though most riders seemed to have. All told, it was too much to remain with the GC pack today, as Nibali tore it to shreds.
“He’s still suffering the consequences of the two crashes that he had two days in a row,” Garmin director Charly Wegelius told VeloNews. “As is often the case, the pains, they come out over time, over the first 48, 76 hours of a crash like that. [Sunday] we were very lucky with the way that the race played out. We laid low.”
At the sport’s biggest race with its riders on their most sublime levels, a crash can be poison to a GC man. On Monday, it was absolute kryptonite for Talansky, who announced his arrival with a megaphone by winning the Critérium du Dauphiné before the Tour.
“The difference between those who are in the front and those who can’t keep up is already very small amongst healthy riders. As soon as you have an impact like this two days in a row like this, it really plays havoc with your body,” Wegelius said. “And there’s the healing process that the body begins to put in place, and that just isn’t compatible with performing at that kind of level, because the body is just trying to fix itself.”
Things that are second nature, then, begin to feel alien.
“So often the rider feels odd on the bike. It’s not unusual to have riders asking if the measurements on the bike are correct the next day, because their bodies are bent out shape, basically. They really feel awkward, and often a rider can feel blocked,” Wegelius said. “I think it’s going to be expected that the rider’s suffer like that.”
Talansky will use the rest day to recover, and Garmin will use it to assess its goals moving forward at this Tour.
“He’s clearly disappointed because he had great form coming into the race and I think he still has extremely good condition, underlying the problems of the crash,” Wegelius said. “We’re going to see what we can on the rest day and then reevaluate the goals for him and the team together.”