Pitbull Talansky rides through the tears for sake of team

Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:02pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

OYONNAX France (Reuters) - After a long talk with Garmin-Sharp sports director Robbie Hunter, Andrew Talansky remounted his bike and wiped tears off his face, a bleak mask of pain.

The American rider, suffering from lower-back pain after two crashes earlier in the Tour de France, had stopped some 100km into the 11th stage to sit on a crash barrier by the side of a sun-drenched road.

Race organizers announced that Garmin-Sharp had abandoned the Tour, but Talansky - aka the Pitbull - was back on his bike, accompanied only by his pain.

Ironically, his team set a hard pace in front of the bunch, possibly to prepare a stage win for their Dutch rider, Tom-Jelte Slagter, making it harder for Talansky to finish inside the time cut.

He crossed the line 32:08 minutes behind stage winner Tony Gallopin, of France.

"He had a very tough day. We had hoped he could have a better day. It's typical of cyclists and especially of Andrew," said Charles Wegelius, the team's other sports director.

"It's very disappointing to come to this race with the kind of expectations that Andrew had. He deserved much better than this, so that's cruel. 

"It came from these two crashes in two days. He needed some reassurance from Robbie about the situation he was in," Wegelius added.   Continued...

Garmin-Sharp team rider Andrew Talansky of the U.S.A cycles to cross the finish line of the 187.5-km 11th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Besancon and Oyonnax, July 16, 2014.    REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier