Montagne de Lure: Ongoing Paris-Nice race leader Talansky says bring it on
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Montagne de Lure: Ongoing Paris-Nice race leader Talansky says bring it on

by Shane Stokes at 12:23 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Paris-Nice
Garmin-Sharp rider cool under pressure today, looking forward to tomorrow’s summit finish

Andrew TalanskyIt may be the highest summit finish in Paris-Nice history at 1600 metres in altitude, but Garmin-Sharp rider Andrew Talansky said that he’s looking forward to going flat out on tomorrow’s climb of the Montagne de Lure and defending his race lead.

The American rider rode strongly on today’s fourth stage of the race, responding to his rivals’ attacks with calmness, and is in a battling mood in advance of tomorrow’s crucial mountain showdown.

“Tomorrow, we're really going to see,” he said after today’s stage. “We've gone up a lot of climbs but for me, ten or fifteen minutes climbs are hardest. Once it's going over twenty minutes it's better and it's going to be around 35 minutes. Contador climbed it in 34 minutes in 2009 so it's going to be 35 minutes at least for us at 1,600 metres which is pretty high. It's going to me a high time trial for me and we'll see what it means.”

Talansky has a narrow three second gap over his closest rival Andriy Grivko (Astana Pro Team), who rode strongly in the mountains yesterday, and is a further second clear of Peter Velits (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) plus a very aggressive Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team).

Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Richie Porte (Sky Procycling) are also very close by, being between five and seven seconds back, while a total of fourteen other riders are within twenty seconds of yellow.

Despite that, he said that he’s looking forward to the big summit finish. “Today was stressful but when you get to a climb like this all you have to do is to go as hard as you can and whatever happens, happens. That’s simple.”

Day one goes to plan:

Talansky was isolated in the finale of today’s stage, being left alone when the screw was turned by squads such as the BMC Racing team. Rivals such as Chavanel, Nicolas Roche (Saxo Tinkoff), Richie Porte (Sky) and Grivko attacked and tried to get clear, but the American was either able to respond himself, or waited and allowed others to bring back the gaps.

It was a calm, measured performance under pressure, and is something which will boost his team’s confidence that he can hold yellow.

“Today you had to be smart…I was smart. They were not,” he said of his rivals. “Today we knew it would be the trickiest stage of the race.

“Last night we talked about it and we knew I was going to be on my own in the last thirty kilometres. It wasn't a surprise, we were prepared for it. We wanted to keep the jersey but I wasn't stressed. If I lost it I could always take it back the next day. The way it worked out I felt good and you can't play off the guys who fight for the jersey and the ones who want a stage win. It worked out perfectly. The only way to keep it today was smart tactics.”

Talansky said that team-mates David Millar, Andreas Klier and Johan Van Summeren all encouraged him and advised him to remain calm when the attacks came. “Andreas told me last night don't get upset in the finale, you'll be all alone but you stay calm. If you don't, you'll waste a lot of energy. So you just stay calm, it's always better.”

So it proved to be, with the 24 year old monitoring all the moves, responding when he needed to, and ending the day in yellow.

Tomorrow’s stage will be arguably the toughest of the race but he’ll try to remain calm and then to floor it on the final climb. There’s still three more stages left at this point but if he remains out front after the finish of the Montagne de Lure, then Talansky will know that he could go on to win this Paris-Nice.


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