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Cycling Racing News and Opinion
July 17, 2014

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Andrew Talansky Quits the Tour de France

It was finally to much for the courageous Garmin-Sharp rider. After two crashes (stage 7 and 8), Andrew Talansky, the 2014 Dauphiné winner was suffering from intense back pain (acute sacroilitis – an inflammation of the sacroiliac joint, which connects the iliac bone, in the pelvis, to the spine) and a chest infection that forced him to abandon the Tour de France. He will not start stage 12 that starts in Bourg en Bresse.

In a team press release Talansky said, "I'm absolutely heartbroken. 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. 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."

During stage 11, after chasing alone following a flat tire, Talansky dismounted his bike and talked to team staff. He remounted and finished the stage within the time limit. After his Dauphiné success, the talented rider had been considered a dark horse to win the Tour, but certainly a likely high placing finisher.

Andrew Talansky

Andrew Talansky after winning the Dauphiné. Photo ©Sirotti

Rui Costa was on the wrong side of yesterday's late-stage peloton split, costing him his place in the Tour's General Classification top ten. It turns out the world champion was under antibiotic therapy for bronchitis.

Today Costa finished in the front group, 48th, but and moved up to 13th (because Tony Gallopin had a bad day and dropped in the standings), 5 minutes 34 seconds behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali.

Costa said, "Today I can say I am happier, the feelings are much improved compared to yesterday, a day when I really suffered a lot because of this debilitating bronchitis. I think I'm back to 70% of my strength, thanks to the antibiotic therapy that was prescribed by the Team's doctor. I am confident that I can still improve in the coming days. Today the race for me was quiet without too many worries. The final had many ups and downs that I faced quietly in the belly of the group."

Peter Sagan again came close to winning a stage, but could not finish the job. With four second place stage finishes under his belt so far this Tour and eight in the top five, the points classification leader said, "I'm thinking that maybe it's my destiny to finish second at this Tour de France. I feel ok - I'm not too disappointed, I have to accept and look ahead. Many riders would be happy to take a second place at Tour de France, so I don't want to be too negative".

"I knew the efforts my teammates did to help me during the last stages and today the strategy was to wait the final climbs and then manage the finale. As usual they did a great work and I was in a good position for the sprint, but Kristoff had something more than me and took the win".

"Since the beginning I did my best in all the stages suited for me. And this made me more tired compared to other riders. My goal now is to pass the mountains stages, save energy as much energy as possible and try again to win in the last week of race".

Vincenzo Nibali discussed the coming stages. Tomorrow the Tour will enter the high Alps with an hors category hill-top finish at Chamrousse. He said he felt good and was confident in the face of what is to come.

He voiced the enviable position of a race leader who can ride conservatively and defensively and not waste energy attacking, "There are two hard stages in the coming days. I have not explored the routes, so I do not know exactly what to expect. It is not for me to attack, but I think that others will. But on the other hand, if I can book a profit of course I will. My team is strong. It will be difficult to control the game, but with Scarponi, Kangert and Fuglsang I have teammates who can assist in the mountains."

Nibali has also had to deal with his team's (Astana) spotty doping history. L'Equipe asked if Astana is giving Nibali a bad image. Nibali responded, "I understand these issues. The subject is still burning but it is the past. Today, there are still isolated cases. There will always be idiots. I do not speak for the whole bunch but there is a real desire to improve the situation. "

Like many riders, Nibali insists that the current crop of professional racers is cleaner than the previous generation. That certainly is a low bar.

Stage 13 profile

Stage 13's rugged profile.

Dutch GC hope Bauke Mollema, who also profited from Tony Gallopin's slide in the standings, seems to be looking forward to Friday's stage 13 assault on the Chamrousse climb, "It's the longest climb so far in this Tour. It's going to be tough. It is a challenge for the GC riders. Maybe I can gain a few places again."

Mollema is in eighth place, 4 minutes 8 seconds behind Nibali

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