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Andrew Talansky escapes cobbles unscathed

CAMBRAI, France (VN) — Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin) escaped unscathed from the Tour’s most unpredictable day, riding across seven cobble sectors and into Cambrai in a group with his GC rivals, maintaining his top-20 position in the overall.

“I’m happy,” he told VeloNews outside the Cannondale-Garmin bus, smiling through a dust-caked face as he hugged and patted the teammates who had pulled for him throughout the day.

“Everyday this first week, seems like there’s opportunities to gain, to lose, or to stay even. The team rode a great race today for me, and I’m happy to finish up in the front group,” he said.

Talansky maintained position in the front group throughout the nervous, action-packed stage 4 of the Tour de France, which crossed 13.3 kilometers of northern French pavé. With the effort, he took another step along the rocky road of the Tour de France. He now sits 2:51 behind race leader Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick-Step).

The young American rode well when the Tour passed over cobbles in 2014, sticking with the front group until he was caught behind a crash. That ride, in pouring rain, gave him confidence for Tuesday’s stage, he said.

“The cobbles aren’t hard; it’s the fight for position before ‘em, and then people are blowing up,” he said. “I actually quite enjoyed them this year, where last year I was pretty afraid with the rain and everything. But it gave me confidence that if I could do it in the rain, I could do it on the dry.”

Talansky had a good day, he said. No crashes, no mechanicals, no issues of note.

The young American singled out teammates Ramunas Navardauskas and Kristijan Koren for their efforts in his aid over the final sectors, but said his whole team pulled admirably. Their strength, he said, is confidence-inspiring ahead of a key team time trial on stage 9. That Cannondale-Garmin still has all nine of its riders helps, too.

The stages ahead are lumpy but not mountainous, heading toward the coast where winds could batter the peloton into echelons. The team time trial, just before the first rest day, will be the next real GC test. Cannondale-Garmin is confident, Talansky said.

“We have a lot of guys strong and healthy. That’ll be important in the team time trial. Really, it’s just like we’ve been doing: take it day by day, getting to the mountains.”

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