A day after pushing through an agonizing ride to survive the sword of the time cut, American Andrew Talansky abandoned the Tour de France.
The Garmin-Sharp rider went down hard two times in as many days on Friday and Saturday and never was able to recover; a rider who had been at the front of the race could no longer stay with the peloton’s inevitable march uphill.
“I’m absolutely heartbroken to leave the Tour de France. I built my season around the Tour, and the team has supported me every step of the way. I had hoped the rest day would allow some time to recover from my crashes,” Talansky said in a statement released by Garmin. “I was hopeful that I could get through yesterday and I tried to be there for the team, the way they have been there for me this whole time. But it proved to be too much. I wanted the team to keep up the fight for the stage, and in turn for them, I wanted to fight to the finish.”
He did fight to the finish, it just wasn’t the one in Paris he’d hoped for. For 60 kilometers Wednesday, Talansky rode alone. When he came to the finish line in Oyonnax, he was met with a wall of noise. He’d survived the cut, but just barely. Ultimately, the ensuing night of rest wasn’t enough.
“It’s been hard for me personally with the crashes but I’m really proud of how we rode together here. These guys are so strong and there is so much more they can do over the rest of the Tour,” Talansky said. “I’ll go home now and rest and recover but I will be watching from there and cheering for my team every day.”
Kevin Sprouse, Garmin’s team physician, said Talansky is battling the complications of the two crashes and also an upper-respiratory infection.
“The impact on his hip from the crash on Stage 7 has led to acute sacroiliitis, from which the pain has made it increasingly difficult for him to pedal,” Sprouse said via the team statement.
Talansky and Garmin will rue what could have been at this Tour, with two contenders eliminated by crashes early on in Chris Froome (Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), and Talansky showing good form after his daring Critérium du Dauphiné win. He finished 10th in his maiden Tour last year.
“Andrew came in to this Tour in excellent condition. He has been suffering the effects of some very heavy crashes. We are proud of his ride yesterday, of his tenacity and his courage,” the team statement read. “He was determined to finish the stage, no matter how far back he was, and he gave the nod to his teammates to go with the plan of going for the stage. He wanted them to ride for it and he wanted to finish for them. That’s the heart of a champion. We are sad to see him leave, but it’s important that he goes home, rests, recovers, and refocuses on the rest of his season.”
Garmin had already abandoned its GC charge as of Wednesday morning, and was set to focus on winning stages. Now it will do so, but without the tenacious Talansky.
“There is a lot of Tour left to race. All of these guys are capable of doing great things here,” Garmin’s statement read. “We have a very strong team and we will continue to fight on to Paris.”